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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, @02:40PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday March 25 2020, @02:40PM (#975471)

    People in those rural areas know how to grow food, hunt, and build things

    Maybe so, but most of them don't actually know how to grow enough food to feed themselves, much less the rest of us. Similarly, they might be able to kill enough deer to keep their freezer stocked, but how many of them can process that meat (safely) themselves? If they were left on their own without hunting regulations, would the deer even last two seasons before the hunters started going hungry? If they follow hunting regulations, can they produce enough meat to feed more than 10% of their local population, much less the nearby cities?

    My uncle built his own home in the far suburbs. Plenty of rural dwellers do work the trades, so do urban dwellers, not enough to hear my neighbor tell the story, but all it really takes to be a carpenter or a plumber, electrician, HVAC, etc. is a reasonable physical condition, intellect above the bottom quintile (some don't even have that) and the desire to learn the trade. It's not like our cities are built and maintained exclusively by rural tradesmen - it's more that the trades don't pay enough to compensate for the working conditions to attract more workers to them - who really enjoys crawling around in cramped fiberglass filled attics in the Florida summer?

    the magic sky fairy called Amazon.

    The sky fairy is certainly more efficient for most things. When you can get it from the sky fairy for $30, delivered in a week or less, why spend 3 hours screwing around trying to make/build it yourself for $10 in component parts? Oftentimes, the sky fairy delivers finished goods for less than the raw materials would cost an individual buyer.

    I'm growing 4 blueberry bushes in the yard, the bushes plus ground prep cost me about $80 to the sky fairy and local suppliers and at least 4 hours of labor. I'm going to spend 2 years tending them and pulling weeds from their patch before I get the first berries from them, and then they're probably only going to deliver a couple of quarts of blueberries a year for several years, if something tragic doesn't happen (like the greening disease that hit my 3 year old citrus trees).

    There's no ROI in DIY.

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