I just watched Trump handle the hostile press and other critters in DC to discuss how to deal with this present coronavirus. He handled this very well especially with all the DNC snipers sniping at him all the time and being as abrasive as possible which is self-defeating. So far, the virus has been contained in the US. Perhaps this will work until the vaccine is tested and then distributed.
13 years ago, the NY Times published a science story that was really good and sane and useful. What a sad thing, seeing how that paper can’t do this anymore. It is quite revealing and important today to see what has happened in the past, this informs us for the future:
Reading a paper published in 1919 in the Journal of the American Medical Association on the flu epidemic at Camp Cody in New Mexico, he came upon a key passage: “It is interesting to note that very soon after the epidemic of influenza reached this camp, our laboratory guinea pigs began to die.” At first, the study’s authors wrote, they thought the animals had died from food poisoning. But, they continued, “a necropsy on a dead pig revealed unmistakable signs of pneumonia.”
This is why going into the past for information is useful. I have been reaching into the past as well as my personal, up close in a horrible way, involvement with the Hong Kong flu. The guinea pigs dying in 1919 was a clue. Scientists have to copy Sherlock Holmes and indeed, many scientists I have grow up with over the years, tend to admire Holmes.
Dr. Palese bought some guinea pigs and exposed them to the flu virus. Just as the paper suggested, they got the flu and spread it among themselves. So Dr. Palese and his colleagues began their experiments.
Here is the key science at work: they decided to try out various environmental conditions to see how the little animals responded to these changes.
By varying air temperature and humidity in the guinea pigs’ quarters, they discovered that transmission was excellent at 41 degrees. It declined as the temperature rose until, by 86 degrees, the virus was not transmitted at all.
BINGO. No real shock here, we know from the past events, the rise and fall of these viruses is very much related to the climate and these always start where it is colder, not warmer and even more important, in dry as well as cold climates like…Central Asia which is where many plagues first start!
The virus was transmitted best at a low humidity, 20 percent, and not transmitted at all when the humidity reached 80 percent.
So, the safest place would be the Congo and Amazon jungles! Unfortunately, both incubate other equally dangerous diseases.
The animals also released viruses nearly two days longer at 41 degrees than at a typical room temperature of 68 degrees.
So, it is important to keep victims of these flues warm and damp. When I was dying of the Hong Kong flu, the people caring for me boiled water in the room and made it as warm as possible while putting cold ice on my stomach and forehead due to the extremely high fever.
When the fever faded, my lungs filled with fluids and to keep it out, I deliberately and frequently chocked it out. This worked.
Flu viruses spread through the air, unlike cold viruses, Dr. Palese said, which primarily spread by direct contact when people touch surfaces that had been touched by someone with a cold or shake hands with someone who is infected, for example.
This is important information. So it floats in the air. This means subways and other transportation is dangerous. This is probably when the confining ships are spreading the disease so much. This is why hospitals should not take in these patients but must isolate them.
Flu viruses are more stable in cold air, and low humidity also helps the virus particles remain in the air. That is because the viruses float in the air in little respiratory droplets, Dr. Palese said. When the air is humid, those droplets pick up water, grow larger and fall to the ground.
I didn’t know that! So, the humidity keeps it from floating about? In winter, we have little humidity in the air, it turns into ice or snow and falls to the ground. This is probably why flues run riot in winters.
It is unclear why infected animals released viruses for a longer time at lower temperatures. There was no difference in their immune response, but one possibility is that their upper airways are cooler, making the virus residing there more stable.
In fact, the overlap of the graphs was so close, “you could pretty much put one on top of each other,” says Metz, who together with Adam Finn, recently reviewed all the evidencefor the Journal of Infection. The finding has now been replicated many times including analyses of the 2009 Swine flu pandemic.
That’s counter-intuitive – we normally think that the damp makes us ill, rather than protects us from disease. But to understand why, you need to grasp the peculiar dynamics of our coughs and sneezes. Any time we splutter with a cold, we expel a mist of particles from our nose and mouths. In moist air, these particles may remain relatively large, and drop to the floor. But in dry air, they break up into smaller pieces – eventually becoming so small that they can stay aloft for hours or days. (It’s a bit like the mist you get when you turn a hose pipe to its finest spray.) The result is that in winter, you are breathing a cocktail of dead cells, mucus and viruses from anyone and everyone who has visited the room recently.
What’s more, water vapour in the air seems to be toxic to the virus itself. Perhaps by changing the acidity or salt concentration in the packet of mucus, moist air may deform the virus’s surface, meaning that it loses the weaponry that normally allows us to attack our cells. In contrast, viruses in drier air can float around and stay active for hours – until it is inhaled or ingested, and can lodge in the cells in your throat.
So the reason why this spreads in warm, humid climates is due to air conditioners. These dry out the air significantly.
Tyler Koep, then at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has estimated that simply running an air humidifier in a school for one hour could kill around 30% of the viruses flying around the air.
This news is not being discussed at all. The discussion with Trump at the press conference above doesn’t mention humidifying places to protect people from these floating germs. I wish I could somehow spread this news.