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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday March 24 2020, @04:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the lock-em-down dept.

Politicians won't admit it yet, but it's time to prepare—physically and psychologically—for a sudden stop to all life outside your home.

[...] Whether you are reading this in your living room in Vancouver, office in London, or on a subway in New York City, you need to think hard, and fast, about two crucial questions: Where, and with whom, do you want to spend the next six to 12 weeks of your life, hunkered down for the epidemic duration? And what can you do to make that place as safe as possible for yourself and those around you?

Your time to answer those questions is very short—a few days, at most. Airports will close, trains will shut down, gasoline supplies may dwindle, and roadblocks may be set up. Nations are closing their borders, and as the numbers of sick rise, towns, suburbs, even entire counties will try to shut the virus out by blocking travel. Wherever you decide to settle down this week is likely to be the place in which you will be stuck for the duration of your epidemic.

To appreciate what lies ahead for the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, pay heed to Italy, France, and Germany. The United States, for example, is currently tracking exactly where Italy was about 10 days ago. France and Germany, which track two to five days ahead of the United States, are now revving up measures akin to those taken by Italy, including lockdowns on movement and social activity. In a matter of days, the United States will follow suit.

[...] Once tough location decisions have been made, the household must be readied for a long siege. While panic-buying has led to stockpiles of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, getting through eight months of confinement with others will require a great deal more, both physically and psychologically. This is especially true for households that span generations.

Long-term confinement that includes children undergoing remote schooling and adults trying to work requires designated spaces for each individual, a powerful Internet signal and Wi-Fi router, and a great deal of shared patience. Everybody in the household must understand how the coronavirus is spread, and what steps each should follow to eliminate their personal risk of passing infection to others in the home.

The virus is transmitted by droplets and fomites[*]—it isn't like measles, capable of drifting about in the air for hours. It dehydrates quickly if not inside water, mucus, or fomite droplets. The size of the droplets may be far below what the human eye can see, but they are gravity-sensitive, and will fall from an individual's mouth down, eventually, to the nearest lower surface—table, desk, floor. You do not need to clean upward.

However, a newly published study, backed by the National Institutes of Health, found that the virus survives in "aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel." This means an uncleaned surface can pose a risk to members of the household for a very long time—a doorknob, tabletop, kitchen counter or stainless steel utensil.

[*] Wikipedia entry on fomites:

any inanimate object that, when contaminated with or exposed to infectious agents (such as pathogenic bacteria, viruses or fungi), can transfer disease to a new host.

[...] In addition to objects in hospital settings, other common fomites for humans are cups, spoons, pencils, bath faucet handles, toilet flush levers, door knobs, light switches, handrails, elevator buttons, television remote controls, pens, touch screens, common-use phones, keyboards, and computer mice, coffeepot handles, countertops, and any other items that may be frequently touched by different people and infrequently cleaned.

Researchers have discovered that smooth (non-porous) surfaces like door knobs transmit bacteria and viruses better than porous materials like paper money because porous, especially fibrous, materials absorb and trap the contagion, making it harder to contract through simple touch. Nonetheless, fomites may include soiled clothes, towels, linens, handkerchiefs, and surgical dressings


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24 2020, @01:54PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24 2020, @01:54PM (#974960)

    Trump's done a lot of really stupid things, but the testing red-tape was pure CYA bureaucracy. It would have happened regardless of who was in office. He's still in charge, so the buck stops with him, but if you don't change the incentives for the bureaucracy it's just going to happen again next time. As was obvious last time something like this happened. Don't expect any actual improvements, in other words. Pournelle's iron law of bureaucracy and all.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24 2020, @03:20PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24 2020, @03:20PM (#975019)
    I don't think this would have happened if you had a president that listened to the science and took the threat of COVID-19 seriously. For two months there had been news from China that COVID-19 was really bad. Any other president, heck probably even a dunderhead like George W. Bush, would probably have heeded these warnings and quickly relaxed the FDA's bureaucratic requirements to get tests like the one Dr. Alex Greninger had devised approved more quickly. Bullshit requirements like instructing him to test his method on the SARS and MERS viruses before approval (WTF?!) would have been waived immediately if you had a president who actually took the threat seriously. But no, instead we've had Trump still denouncing news of the spread of the disease as a Democratic hoax as late as two weeks ago and just this week viciously attacking a journalist who honestly asked him what he would say to Americans afraid of COVID-19. And no, with Trump, the buck stops, oh, somewhere way over there. "I don't take responsibility at all." Yeah, Harry Truman turns over in his grave, and is painfully ashamed that he even shares the first four letters of his last name with this successor of his.
    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday March 25 2020, @12:41AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 25 2020, @12:41AM (#975272) Homepage Journal

      The dunderhead to whom you refer ignored all intel from the intel community, then after the fact, twisted the intel available to fit his own agenda in attacking Iraq. WTF makes you think he was going to listen to medical science?

      --
      “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday March 26 2020, @02:08AM (2 children)

    by HiThere (866) on Thursday March 26 2020, @02:08AM (#975680) Journal

    No. It was a NIH syndrome. He didn't want to use the test that WHO had developed, he wanted to develop a different one. There were bugs in the development...and I'm not in a position to guess why. And I also can't guess the thought process behind refusing to use the test that had already been developed.

    Well, that's not true. I've got several guesses, but that's what they are. And I know I'm strongly biased against Trump, so I don't trust my guesses.
    As an extreme example:
    "He's a deep Russian agent intent on sabotaging the country, so he didn't want a test that would work."
    There's no real evidence that this is correct. Believing it only shows that you're willing to believe things that align with your beliefs even without evidence.

    --
    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday March 26 2020, @02:59AM (1 child)

      Because it was a shitty test that kicked out lots of false negatives. False positives are annoying to one person but false negatives are dangerous to millions. Also because testing doesn't do a damned thing for anyone who's sick, it's only good for data crunching after the fact.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday March 26 2020, @03:14PM

        by HiThere (866) on Thursday March 26 2020, @03:14PM (#975908) Journal

        It sure wasn't perfect, but it was a lot better than not having any test. And most US cases are still not tested at all (so saying they are cases is based on presumptive evidence that only catches one extreme).

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.