Tuesday, March 17, 2020

You'll Be Needing to Wash More Than Your Hands

The BBC has a very timely article on our new global virus and how it can be transmitted. Hint: public transit may not be a good idea.

There has been some discussion of 'contact' infection - getting the virus by touching a contaminated surface. I read that Covic-19 could survive on surfaces for up to 3 days. Apparently that was wishful thinking.
One aspect that has been unclear is exactly how long SARS-CoV-2, the name of the virus that causes the disease Covid-19, can survive outside the human body. Some studies on other coronaviruses, including Sars and Mers, found they can survive on metal, glass and plastic for as long as nine days, unless they are properly disinfected. Some can even hang around for up to 28 days in low temperatures. 
Coronaviruses are well known to be particularly resilient in terms of where they can survive. And researchers are now beginning to understand more about how this affects the spread of the new coronavirus.
It sounds like washrooms are a bit worrisome, even yours at home.
Like many respiratory viruses, including flu, Covid-19 can be spread in tiny droplets released from the nose and mouth of an infected person as they cough. A single cough can produce up to 3,000 droplets. These particles can land on other people, clothing and surfaces around them, but some of the smaller particles can remain in the air. There is also some evidence that the virus is also shed for longer in faecal matter, so anyone not washing their hands thoroughly after visiting the toilet could contaminate anything they touch.
This might be a perfect time to break that disgusting habit some are reported to have developed of taking their smart phones into the can to while away the sit down time and catch up with their friends.

A few other pointers. The virus can live an estimated three hours as droplets from coughing. On cardboard it's 24 hours.
The findings suggest the virus might last this long on door handles, plastic-coated or laminated worktops and other hard surfaces. The researchers did find, however, that copper surfaces tended to kill the virus in about four hours. 
But there is a speedier option: research has shown that coronaviruses can be inactivated within a minute by disinfecting surfaces with 62-71% alcohol, or 0.5% hydrogen peroxide bleach or household bleach containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite. Higher temperatures and humidity also tend to result in other coronaviruses dying quicker, although research has shown that a related coronavirus that causes Sars could be killed by temperatures above 56°C or 132°F (hotter than even a bath scalding enough to cause injury) at a rate of about 10,000 viral particles every 15 minutes.
It sounds as though the fight against the virus doesn't stop at our front door. It may be time for a regime of disinfecting countertops, appliances and, absolutely, bathrooms at least every few days, more if you have many visitors.


Toby said...

If you have the time this guy has lots to say about C-19. It's a rather broad discussion including environmental contributors (due to climate change animals are on the march . . . )


After contracting SARS a patient would generally not be communicable until becoming sick. A patient with C-19 can spread it all over the place for several days before having any symptoms. This makes it considerably more dangerous than SARS.

In China, C-19 spread to health care workers; many died. What happens here if that happens?

The Disaffected Lib said...

"if that happens" Try "when that happens," Toby. The virus is a real threat to healthcare workers. The Chinese and European experiences demonstrate that.

The next post deals with the failure of politics to prepare for this pandemic. Climate science has been warning for 15, perhaps 20 years, that we were vulnerable to a succession of pandemics this century, the scope and severity greatly increased by globalism, overpopulation and other changes associated with the Anthropocene.

I'm now becoming concerned about malevolent forces that may exploit our vulnerabilities to this virus to shape the aftermath to their advantage and our detriment. The post-Covid 19 world may be considerably different than pre-Covid 19.

Remember we have been experiencing a transition from the post-Soviet unipolar world dominated by the US in no small part due to the rise of China and the lesser recovery of Russia. The West, which has dominated the world for about three centuries, is losing some of its purchase.

Having said that, disease is only one source of looming dislocation. Overpopulation, climate change, the loss of biodiversity and resource exhaustion are also in play. How those will impact us is in no small measure dependent on whether we return to a historical model of politics that puts the security and wellbeing of the public above all else. We haven't had that for decades, since Western governments handed over critical aspects of national sovereignty to the private sector to facilitate free trade agreements.

Toby said...

Mound said, "I'm now becoming concerned about malevolent forces that may exploit our vulnerabilities to this virus to shape the aftermath to their advantage and our detriment."

For weeks now I've been more concerned with that than the disease itself. Just what, exactly, are the authoritarians amongst us learning from watching various attempts to control peoples' behaviour in order to fight the pandemic?

Which governor will be the first to call out the National Guard? When will Pres. Trump call out the troops? How much support will he have if/when he does?

the salamander said...

.. my understanding is New York State utilized National Guard to run a security perimiter around a particular infection hot spot. Toby's link was very blunt.. outstanding ! We need more blunt. I note such KOP's - Key Opinion Leaders do not even mention Trump & his equally gutless runaway boat anchor Administration.. and their trashing of the Pandemic Response Team. Meanwhile, the gutless wonders are slowly stumbling from 15 infected, will soon be washed away miraculously to where they will be acting as if they are saving thousands by laying back and watching as they did. Does it not seem their failure to grasp Reality may indeed have been criminal. One of the great failures that is right 'On Brand' - Everything Trump Touches Dies