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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: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24 2020, @06:43PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24 2020, @06:43PM (#975138)

    > "If 90% of the population has already been infected, that 90% can get back to business as usual and we can just build walls around the nursing homes and facilities for the fragile as yet uninfected so they can get the care they need when the virus finally reaches them."

    You don't naturally gain immunity to all viruses/diseases after being infected once. In some cases, such as dengue, it ends up being vastly worse the second time around. This virus is similar to SARS and part of the reason a vaccine for SARS failed not only was because it was only moderately effective, but because if/when you did get it - outcomes were much worse. Nobody seems to entirely know exactly how reinfection works with this virus yet, but there have been numerous cases of people getting it twice. So that's not looking good.

    Finally there is mutation. Nobody really understands what this virus is or how it works, if it end up being simply a new persist contagion, if it will end up dying off more or less naturally, or on the other hand if it may become inherently more deadly. It's just a giant question mark. One thing's for certain - we'll have some answers relatively soon because the number of 'test subjects' is going to hit the millions soon.

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  • (Score: 2) by legont on Wednesday March 25 2020, @03:54AM

    by legont (4179) on Wednesday March 25 2020, @03:54AM (#975323)

    Typically bugs, including viruses, don't want to to kill the host because they die with the host. They want cooperation.
    The reason the viruses that jumped species are that agressive is that they did not learn yet how to be gentle to the host. With time chances are it will become less deadly. This would explain low mortality rate of greater China and Korea.
    On the other hand, the bug could learn how to infect young people better. It also seems to be the case.

    --
    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.