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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: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday March 25 2020, @01:05AM (3 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 25 2020, @01:05AM (#975278)

    It spreads like the flu, it even causes complications like the flu, just more severe and more often deadly.

    because every argument regarding it, is about taking it less seriously.

    There are some of us who wish it was taken more seriously, sooner, but believe that the present late reaction is taking things too far and beginning to enter counterproductive territory.

    What I see happening now is everybody's personal hidden agendas coming to the forefront. Beancounters at our company are flying the "teleconferencing not travel" banner (which I have been pushing for a decade to anyone who would listen, but people are finally listening now). Schoolboards and Universities are giddy with the prospect of increased tele-learning and what that would do for their budgets. Even city planners and others are falling over themselves at the potential positive impacts of people working from home and "let's push thing a little harder and longer to show what can be done" (again, a pet cause of mine for the past many years that has never gotten traction with the establishment.) I like a lot of what's being demonstrated in this overreaction to a slightly scary virus, but, let's be real about the threat that's driving this: 1% death rate, and with hundreds of thousands of deaths there are a few tragic cases to point out of young doctors, 18 year olds, etc, but, all in all, 1% is the number. It's bad. 3.5 million deaths in the US within 3 months would be horrific, let's not do that. Please, let's also not kill more than 3.5 million people by going overboard with our social distancing experiment - I'd really like the positive aspects of demonstrating tele-education and tele-work to not be spoiled by needless deaths caused by reactionary shutdown of normal societal functioning.

    Calls to mind the evacuation of Houston for hurricane Rita (same year Katrina hit N.O.), several dozen people were straight up killed in the evacuation, and in the end it turned out that they (the ones who died) didn't need to evacuate at all. For those of us who survived the evacuation, there was a tremendous amount of stress and financial expense that was similarly brought on by the "abundance of caution."

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  • (Score: 2) by edIII on Wednesday March 25 2020, @04:24AM (2 children)

    by edIII (791) on Wednesday March 25 2020, @04:24AM (#975333)

    Well, none of the examples you link to are going to be anywhere near equivalent situations. This is more serious than any one hurricane, and if we were to compare, it would be against the entire United States.

    One thing is for certain, you can't accurately determine what is an abundance of caution vs an overreaction till after the fact. Given the consequences of inaction, abundance of caution is favored.

    I don't know what is up with this 8 months bullshit. If we actually enforced it hard enough, it could be as little as an additional month. People are not cooperating, because leadership is divided, and this country is so divided that we're actually arguing about how to react to a serious outbreak of disease. It's become political, which is so stupid, that we deserve our fate as a species. Internecine fighting and sociopathic behavior stopped us from using logic, reason, and science. The epitaph of our people.

    Determining if it is an overreaction isn't possible till we have adequate testing, which looks like its probably not coming at all. Which is all the more reason to double, and triple down on this shit hard for the next 4 weeks. Give us some time to obtain the resources we need, especially since 90% of the problem is the Emperor not cooperating.

    --
    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25 2020, @05:33AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25 2020, @05:33AM (#975343)

      It would be logical to get rid of you, then at least you couldn't transfer your viruses to the rest of us. Submit now.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday March 25 2020, @02:13PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 25 2020, @02:13PM (#975460)

      you can't accurately determine what is an abundance of caution vs an overreaction till after the fact.

      You can't accurately determine the line, but I can tell you what's going too far:

      1) House to house mandatory testing, followed by firebombing of any house in which a positive test was found.

      2) Mandatory testing, followed by forced incarceration of individuals who test positive at "camps" at a remote location "until further notice" to protect the rest of us.

      3) Shutdown of all road, rail, ship and air transport "until further notice".

      Those are pretty clear cut, over the line, aren't they?

      I haven't liked Florida's Republican Governors since forever, but our current one is talking a bit of sense on his moderation in the response. Panic and overreaction "just to be safe" is what you do for a zombie apocalypse, not for a virus that's only 10x more deadly than the usual flu.