Coronavirus pandemic non-socio-political discussions

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OrangeSpidey

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2. 36 states are now reporting increases in cases. Only 2 (RI and CT) are reporting declines. When states announced they would be opening for Memorial Day, without having met the criteria for doing so, most Public Health professionals and Epidemiologists predicted a rise in cases 2-4 weeks later. Here we are. If those predictions continue, starting this week we should begin to start seeing increased hospitalization rates followed by increased fatality rates.
This will be really telling.
I guess my question is why SHOULD we expect hospitalizations and deaths to follow the same steep increase? From the numbers I’ve seen, most of the new cases are a younger age group and should be less severe. Hopefully high risk people are heeding the warnings and staying put and we won’t see a dramatic increase where hospitals are overrun.
 

Bowers2

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I guess my question is why SHOULD we expect hospitalizations and deaths to follow the same steep increase? From the numbers I’ve seen, most of the new cases are a younger age group and should be less severe. Hopefully high risk people are heeding the warnings and staying put and we won’t see a dramatic increase where hospitals are overrun.
The first "spike" was June 13ish. So you'd think we would already be seeing a spike in deaths. Hospitalizations are up, but I wouldn't say they are spiking.
 

RxCowboy

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RxCowboy

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July 1

COVID-19: Wednesday July 1st
Face shields, chromosomes, reopening, MIS-C and treatment shortages. This is a little heavy today so do a mental health check before reading, you may want to come back.

1. Face shields are currently being explored and may soon be recommended for public use. Face shields can be produced in the US (making them more easily accessible than store bought masks which are typically imported) and they reduce some of the things people complain about with masks. They are reusable, easy to clean and cover your entire face which reduces the risk of people rubbing their eyes, adjusting their mask or wearing the mask below their nose. Face shields are also more effective than masks at blocking the virus (when they fit properly). Numerous companies (Apple, Nike, GM and John Deere) have all begun producing face shields.

2. The ACE2 gene on the x chromosome may explain the greater fatality rate in males compared to females. This particular chromosome is believed to be related to blood pressure regulation. Women have 2 copies of that gene (because we are XX) men only have one (XY). Researchers believe this may be why men are more vulnerable to severe outcomes - as opposed to behavioral or social explanations. Additional research is being done to know for sure.

3. Roughly 15 states have had to roll back their reopening plans. Successful re-opening is dependent on several things: a)widespread and accurate testing, b)contact tracing, c)proper implementation of social distancing policies in public, d) the proper use of face masks, e) a vaccine, f) avoiding large gatherings. The reality of these items is that we don't yet have a widely available and highly effective/accurate test. Contact tracing is underway but most states are still severely understaffed and some people are refusing to cooperate. Social distancing policies are also being implemented but compliance and implementation is sporadic, face mask use is growing but still far below what is needed and a vaccine won't be ready for quite some time and once it is, it could be a year or more before there is enough to make it available to the general public. Most people are doing well with avoiding large gatherings, but it takes everyone. While this may seem discouraging at first read, it doesn't have to be. Working with the process instead of against it will expedite things. Complying with the above will help reduce the risk that we have to do another round of quarantine.

4. Remedesivir is doing well in drug trials thus far to prove its benefit in treatment of COVID. As mentioned before, there are significant advances being made in the areas of treatment. But as cases rise and more people need the medication - shortages are starting to happen and more are expected. In order to mitigate that, healthcare professionals are working on a plan for distribution of limited resources - the leading proposal currently is a lottery system that would be used to determine who gets the drugs.

5. A Retrospective cohort study out of China found that children are more likely to be asymptomatic and also less likely to respond to anti-viral treatment than adults. In related news, MIS-C is now being referred to by many as a "side effect" of COVID in kids-even if they are asymptomatic. There have been 1000 cases world wide and 300 known cases in the US. Of those, 80% required the ICU and 20% required a ventilator. The average age thus far has been 6-12 years.

FINAL THOUGHTS: It is very easy to become discouraged, frustrated and downright angry. I have heard lots of people say, "I really don't like people." And I get it. I have those days too. We all have days where motivation is hard to come by, being the light and showing kindness seems impossible and all we really want to do is cry in the shower. So go on and cry. Let it out. We are grieving and grief comes in waves. Just recognize that is where you are and that it is fleeting. Reach out to someone when you need to. Join in the collective sigh of exasperation. Then dust off, get up and yell, "Yo Adrian" (sorry, couldn't resist). If you can't, don't pretend. Tell someone, let us help. This too shall pass.
 

RxCowboy

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Tuesday July 7

From my friend who is an epidemiologist at Purdue

COVID-19 Tuesday July 7th
A discussion on aerosolization.

There are headlines about scientists petitioning WHO to declare COVID to be airborne so I thought we should discuss that. 200+ scientists from around the world sent a letter to the WHO asking for COVID to be declared airborne. 200 scientists sounds like a lot, but out of all the scientists in the world, it really isn't that many. These scientists believe the virus can and does become aerosolized in every day situations. Meaning the virus particles become smaller and therefore remain in the air longer than when they are droplets. Aerosolization is common in medical settings and additional precautions are already taken in those settings.

In our everyday life this would mean the virus could linger in the air longer than we thought and could travel further than 6 feet when aerosolized. We already knew it could become aerosolized in certain conditions so that isn't anything new. We also already knew that it could travel further than 6 feet in the right conditions - so also not anything new. But it could have implications for businesses regarding air circulation, reopening etc. Some examples of how recommendations would change would include: possible mask recommendation changes such as recommended usage even when physically distanced, virus filtering air filters for ventilation systems, UV lights indoors in some settings. (again, none of these are new, we have discussed all of this in prior posts - but the recommendations may become more widespread or requirements instead of recommendations).

Currently, all the science tells us that aerosolization is possible under the right conditions but not the norm in our daily home lives although workplaces may be impacted.

Consider a bubble. I assume you have at some point either blown bubbles or seen someone doing so. When you blow bubbles they come out of the wand in different sizes and travel different distances. Some fall/pop right away, others catch just the right air and travel much further. When the bubbles pop they fall to the ground or the nearest surface - if you then touch that surface you get bubble juice on your hands. Rubbing that on your face would be weird but which one of us hasn't rubbed our eyes when we had hot sauce or something on our hands? Washing your hands well and cleaning the surfaces neutralizes the threat.

Think of the virus the same way, our mouths are the wands and we are blowing bubbles. People talk, sing, shout, sneeze, cough, etc. and they are emitting "bubbles" - unseen virus bubbles. Some "pop" and fall to the ground right away, others float out toward you, still others catch a ride on a wisp of air and float much further for longer. Envision this when out and about and you have the picture.

These headlines seem alarming but in reality they are not. Masks help, get a cute one, make it part of your ensemble. Or find one that makes you feel like a warrior ninja. Or whatever you require to feel good about wearing it. Make sure it fits properly - a good fit will make wearing it considerably more comfortable and you won't feel the need to adjust it so much (which is actually a high risk move - so you don't want to be adjusting it).

FINAL THOUGHTS: The world has gone completely mad. Somewhere along the way people have just forgotten how to be nice to each other. But I am reminded that hurting people hurt people and grieving people don't have to make sense because they are grieving. I am reminded that a kind word can turn away wrath and that I cannot control what anyone but me does. And isn't that really how it should be? You wouldn't want me controlling the world. And frankly, just controlling myself is often a full time job. So I choose to keep my cool, to take the high road, to show kindness and understanding. I choose to take breaks and renew so that I can do what I can for others. I choose to educate instead of berate. I choose to show love to those who hurt me. That does not mean enduring abuse, not any kind of abuse. Choose for you, help those you can, and walk away from the rest.
 

RxCowboy

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July 9

COVID-19: Thursday July 9th
It's not because we increased testing, smoking, antibodies, smell and taste, baking your N95 mask and increased isolation recommendations.

1. We ended yesterday by setting another record, 61,848 new cases for the day in the US. Because I am getting this question a lot and seeing people say, "yes but the increase in numbers is due to an increase in testing" I want to speak to that. The increase in numbers is due to an increase in cases - not testing. This is monitored a host of ways but the two simplest are to compare the rate of testing increase to the rate of case increase. We haven't tripled the testing being done but we have tripled the daily case count over the last 3 weeks. And, we have seen the % of positive cases increase. So if testing increased but actual cases hadn't the % positive would actually drop - at best remain the same. I.e. 10% of people tested are testing positive. But that % has actually increased significantly. The numbers are increasing. It is not due to an increase in testing. There are additional ways we determine this that I can share if interested.

2. Another study came out looking at smokers and COVID. This one (available via PubMed for those who are interested) showed a negative association between smoking and COVID - which aligns with what most of the others have shown as well. Meaning - there is something about smokers that seems to lessen the effect. We aren't quite sure what, and people don't like saying it because it seems counter-intuitive, but the running theory is that smokers lungs are damaged in just the right way that the virus can't quite get in there and do its thing. More people are studying it and I don't recommend taking up smoking but for now, it does seem like smoking is not a risk factor.

3. The Lancet published an article out of Spain showing the majority of people they randomly tested were still negative, even in hot spots. They randomly tested 61k people, only 4.6% had antibodies.

4. A study conducted in Italy found 64% of COVID patients had altered sense of taste or smell. 89% reported it returned to normal after a month.

5. Researchers out of Harvard and Stanford have proposed a method of decontaminating N95 masks. They suggest using a convection oven. "Baking" the masks at 185 degrees F with 60-85% humidity for 30 minutes seems to be safe and effective for decontamination. The masks are good for 5 cycles of this.

6. Researchers in India looked at viral persistence in the upper respiratory tract (i.e. the virus is inside the person and replicating) in both symptomatic and asymptomatic people. On average viral persistence was 9.18 days. However, a quarter of asymptomatic people remained infectious for beyond 2 weeks. Being less than 60 yrs old was the biggest factor in having a longer infectious period. (meaning people under 60 and asymptomatic may be infectious longer) They are recommending extending the isolation time from 2 weeks to 3 weeks in India. This was a pretty small study so I wouldn't go changing anything just yet but it does point us in a direction for additional research.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Yesterday I heard someone say, "It's just killing old people" and I had to practice some serious self-control. First, that isn't true. But more importantly, what kind of society doesn't value those upon whose shoulders the nation was built? Those who have gone before us and laid the groundwork. To all the "old people" I want to say thank you. Thank you for fighting in World War II and enduring the Great Depression. Thank you for caring for our children, running our country, changing our diapers and raising us. Thank you for marching with Martin Luther King, for landing on the moon for inventing television, and radio and producing musical greats like Tina Turner, Nat King Cole and Elvis Presley. Thank you for all you still do today and the million ways you keep us afloat. Thank you for your wisdom and perspective and support. And I apologize for people who have made you feel devalued. Today, I wear my mask in honor of you.
 

RxCowboy

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"3. The Lancet published an article out of Spain showing the majority of people they randomly tested were still negative, even in hot spots. They randomly tested 61k people, only 4.6% had antibodies."

To expound on this a little... they were testing for seroprevalance of IgG/IgM antibodies, and not RT-PCR. When you dive a little deeper:

PCR+ > 14 days prior 87.6-91.8%
Anosmia or > 3 smx 15.3-19.3%

Only 19.5% of symptomatic patients who were seropositive by both POC test and immunoassay reported a previous positive PCR.
 

Bowers2

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"3. The Lancet published an article out of Spain showing the majority of people they randomly tested were still negative, even in hot spots. They randomly tested 61k people, only 4.6% had antibodies."

To expound on this a little... they were testing for seroprevalance of IgG/IgM antibodies, and not RT-PCR. When you dive a little deeper:

PCR+ > 14 days prior 87.6-91.8%
Anosmia or > 3 smx 15.3-19.3%

Only 19.5% of symptomatic patients who were seropositive by both POC test and immunoassay reported a previous positive PCR.
Thank you for....clearing that up.
 

RxCowboy

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July 10

COVID-19 Friday July 10th
I got kind of lengthy today so sorry about that. Friday means numbers, increasing numbers, deaths, childhood vaccines and recovery time.

1. Global Numbers increased by 1.39 million over the last week with 33k new deaths. While the case increase is faster than we would like, the case fatality is down again. Case fatality rate (CFR) went from 4.76% to 4.49% over the last week. This means that less people are dying from it. Australia saw a significant spike in cases, and New Zealand continues to see cases trickle in. I included a chart of Australia so you can see what a second wave looks like. While some areas in the US are experiencing a second wave, the US as a whole is still on the first (see charts for comparison).

2. The US added 391k new cases over the last week. This is nearly double the weekly cases we were seeing a month ago. For perspective on our pacing, in the US from 0 cases - 1 million took 99 days, 1 million to 2 took 43 days, 2 million to 3 took 28 days. We have essentially cut our pacing in 1/2 (estimated of course). To be fair, from 0-1 million was highly impacted by testing. In accordance with the global trend, we also saw our case fatality rate drop from 4.53 to 4.22. The US is doing better than the global average at keeping people alive. Georgia, Florida and Texas saw significant increases in cases over the last week. Arizona and Texas also saw a notable rise in deaths, although their total case fatality rates are still holding steady. Take a look at the attached charts, daily cases for the US directly maps to Memorial day and states reopening.

3. I've again been hearing the grumble that everything is being coded as a COVID death so I wanted to share the numbers for that too. I pulled these fresh this morning, of all the deaths happening in the United States right now, only 5.9% are being attributed to what is called PIC (pneumonia, influenza or covid)(down from 9%). That number has been getting smaller each week for 10 consecutive weeks based on official death certificate information. Now do keep in mind that the official death certificate info is delayed by about a month due to the process and those numbers are subject to change as more death certificates arrive. COVID is making up the majority of excess deaths - meaning the number of deaths we are seeing above what is normal but only 5.9% of total deaths. So the claims that everything is being listed as a COVID death does not have merit.

4. The % positives is increasing. So one of the ways we monitor the testing increase compared to the actual case increase is by the % positive. We are seeing increases in the % positives in most parts of the country. How much of an increase depends on where you live but south central is seeing the highest increase with double digits (15-26%). The national average is 8.7%.

5. Childhood vaccination rates are down as high as 63% in some areas since the pandemic began. I want to caution against skipping vaccines right now out of fear of getting the virus from going to the doctor. Remember that some research indicates vaccines may be a big part of why children aren't as likely to get sick. While we don't know that definitively, there is solid evidence to suggest it.

6. A research letter posted in JAMA yesterday took a look at persistent symptoms of people who had recovered from COVID. Everyone in the study had been hospitalized. Only 149 people were in the study so we need to take that into consideration but the findings are in alignment with prior studies we have looked at. What they found is that symptoms of the disease seem to linger even after a person has recovered (at least in cases serious enough to require medical intervention). 60 days after they first became sick, only 12% (rounded) of them were free of symptoms. 44% (rounded) reported worsened quality of life. 87% (rounded) reported that they were still experiencing at least one symptom.

*There is lots happening and making the headlines as schools around the country consider what the fall will look like and how to return to the classroom. We will tackle that news next week.

FINAL THOUGHTS: It's Friday which means we survived another week! It also means it is time to make a plan for your mental health recovery. I encourage you to step away from all the news and just enjoy your life and the people in it. If dragons attack someone will text you.

Side note: I have also been getting asked who I am so I just wanted to say a quick word about that. I am no one. Not really. But I do have my PhD in public health and epidemiology. I am a college professor and teach/train future public health professionals and epidemiologists and am proud to say I have former students working all over the world including at the WHO and CDC and in medical facilities all over the world including places like the Mayo Clinic (super proud of my students). I am actively working with this pandemic by helping communities respond to it and determine what steps they need to take to keep their communities safe, and how to safely open their schools and businesses as well as by training contact tracers (4k and counting to date). In order to do that, I have to stay current on the research and crunch the numbers. I began posting these updates to help my family and friends understand the outbreak and have information they could trust. So, I am not anyone fancy, I am tired and frustrated just like you. But I am an epidemiologist working the most significant pandemic of our lifetime and I am happy to share that with anyone who cares to join me.
 
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RxCowboy

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July 13

COVID-19: Monday July 13th
K-12 schools - reopening, what you need to know and what you need to ask.

Globally we hit 13 million cases over the weekend which means globally we added 1 million cases in 4 days. That is 1 day faster than the last million. The US also set a new record on Friday with 71k new cases in a single day.

Let's talk about K-12 schools reopening. (we will do colleges another day this week). There is a lot we could discuss but who wants to read a novel? Instead I am going to focus on just a few key points, but I am happy to answer any questions you may have or provide resources as needed. I too have children so I understand the angst this situation can cause.

Remember, this is all about recognizing risk and how to mitigate it. So I want to focus on practical things you can do to get the information you need and feel informed to make a decision for your family. I also want to say that there are a lot of unknowns here and this is not going to be a one size fits all situation. Prevention plans must be specific to the school system and even to the individual school. The CDC published a guide for schools to know if it was safe to reopen and then guidance for how to do that.

However, it is just guidance, to guide each school through what to consider and ways to address risks. It has to be tailored to each situation and it is not regulation. That is how these things work.

While there is much that is unknown, we do know that children (under 16) seem to be less likely to develop severe COVID-19 than adults. They also seem to be less likely to spread it. How many children exactly have gotten it we can't know because right now many children are considerably less social than they were before the outbreak (i.e. they are staying home) and many states aren't testing children at all unless they end up hospitalized. So we don't have any idea how many children have gotten it. This means current infection rate numbers for children tell us very little.

We know that less children end up hospitalized which means children tend to have less severe cases. We also know that school is an essential service and not attending school has significant negative outcomes for many children. Some things we have seen include: increased mental health issues, increased child abuse, increased molestation, increased hunger, increased achievement gap, loss of learning, decreased access to counseling, decreased access to social programs, healthy meals etc. The reality of this situation is there are negative consequences either way. We are choosing between two bad options. More than likely, schools will open so what can we do to make sure that is done safely?

Information is vital. I have seen reports from other countries that they reopened without issues. This is true. But there have also been countries that have not - Israel and Australia for example. How well this goes depends on how well each school does it. We also need to remember that teachers and staff are a very big part of this equation and their risk is higher than our students. Three teachers in Arizona just got COVID while meeting at the school to teach online summer classes. One of them died. The other two are still ill, weeks later. So prevention and protection measures need to include protecting teachers and staff.
Identifying the risks is key. Arrival and departures are high risk times (including riding the bus to and from), recess, lunch, library time, changing classes, bathroom breaks, gym, choir, music and athletics are also all high risk activities. Extracurricular activities could be as well depending on the activity. Large, crowded classrooms are a risk. Any prevention plan should include plans for reducing the risk associated with these activities.

We also need to remember that MIS-C is a life threatening disease that is a "side effect" of children being exposed to COVID-19.

Most likely your school is going to open. As a parent, teacher, or staff member you need to know the prevention plan at your school. You want to ask questions to assure they have a quality, well developed plan. Some things to ask/know - 1) did they include a public health professional, epidemiologist or infection prevention specialist in the plan development? 2) Do they have a plan for high risk students, teachers and staff? i.e. what about people who can't be there or don't feel safe doing so? Is there an option for them? 3) Do they have a plan for when someone tests positive? Because most likely someone will. 4) what is the plan to reduce each of the risk areas listed above? 5) does their plan involve more than screening and cleaning? Because that is not enough.

Cont....6) Do they have a plan for what to do if teachers become ill in large numbers? 7) Do they have a testing plan they have coordinated with public health officials and testing centers to get real-time information? 8) what is their communication plan with parents? 9) Did they purchase air filters specifically designed to reduce viral spread? 10) what is their plan B should it not be safe to open or stay open? 11) What PPE will they be providing teachers and staff? Will they be providing any PPE to students? Are they requiring its use? What are they doing about non-compliance? Because the best plan in the world is worthless if people don't follow it.

Ask questions. Lots of questions. Then make the decision that is best for you and your family.

FINAL THOUGHTS: You have to make the decisions that are right for you and your family. Be informed and then make those decisions. Do not feel bad for that. Let others make the decisions that are right for them. Right now we need each other. We need to support and uphold each other. We need to ask questions and seek truth, do not feel bad about that. We are starting another week - if models are correct it is going to be a rough one. Support each other, be kind, reach out and offer each other encouragement. Together we can do this.
 

RxCowboy

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COVID-19 Update: Tuesday, July 14th
Lags in testing again, healthcare workers dying, issues in Kazakhstan, a new air filter, and another mask study. It's a little heavy today so do a mental health check first.

1. As numbers surge we have begun to have significant PPE shortages again, hospitals in hot spots are starting to become overwhelmed, shutdowns are happening again, and testing results are lagging. In some areas, we are back to it taking weeks to get test results due to testing backlogs. Arizona has been particularly hard hit on the testing front with testing taking up to 2 weeks. This can perpetuate the spread and significantly limit the usefulness of contact tracing.

2. 3000 healthcare workers around the world have died from COVID-19. The Five countries who have lost the most include: Russia (545), UK (540), USA (507), Brazil (351) and Mexico (248). This does not include those who have become ill.

3. Kazakhstan is reporting a strange new pneumonia that appears to be more deadly than coronavirus. The WHO believes this is just improperly diagnosed COVID but they are investigating to determine if that is the case or if this is something new. It is very possible this is COVID given the high number of false negatives some tests produce. I will keep monitoring this closely and keep you updated, try not to worry about this one yet.

4. Scientists claim to have developed a new air filter that can capture and kill 99.8% of SARS-Cov2 (the virus that causes COVID). The findings were published in Materials Today Physics and is a nickel foam filter. The filter works by heating up to kill the virus. I am guessing this is not available at Home Depot yet.

5. A study published in Physics of Fluid tested masks to determine how effective they were at blocking droplets. (worth noting this are simulated droplets not actual covid laden droplets). With no covering the droplets traveled up to 8 feet. With a bandanna the droplets made it 3 feet 7 inches, with a folded handkerchief they made it 1 foot 3 inches, with a commercial cone mask they made it 8 inches, with a quilted cotton mask they made it only 2.5 inches. So as long as you aren't a close talker..... This was not a clinical trial, it was a mechanical simulation, but we do get some great information from it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Six months is a long time. It is a long time to stay home, a long time to go without hugging a loved one, a long time to be vigilant about hand-washing and distancing and saying no all the time to your children who just want to see their friends. It's a long time to be in a house alone. It's a long time to be in a house with others. And that can easily wear you down, exhaust you, and make you throw your hands up in surrender. And while it may feel like you are the only one doing it - the only one staying home, the only one wearing a mask, the only one telling their child they can't go, yet again.....you are not. There are lots of people experiencing those same struggles, feeling that same exhaustion, wondering if it will matter and contemplating if its worth it. You see, the right choices are rarely the easy ones. Sometimes we get that lucky, but more often, the right road is the one fraught with obstacles, hurdles and thorns. Surround yourself with people who are on the same road. Encourage others to join you. Rest often. Eat cheesecake, and remind each other that you are amazing and strong and resilient and that one day this will end because you chose the right path.
 

RxCowboy

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Materials Today Physics
Available online 7 July 2020

Catching and killing of airborne SARS-CoV-2 to control spread of COVID-19 by a heated air disinfection system
Luo Yua, Garrett K.Peel, Faisal H.Cheema, William S.Lawrence, Natalya Bukreyeva, Christopher W.Jinks, Jennifer E.Peel, Johnny W.Peterson, Slobodan Paessler, Monzer Hourani,Zhifeng Ren
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mtphys.2020.100249

Highlights
• A heated air disinfection system was fabricated based on commercial Ni foams.

• The Ni-foam-based filters showed ~100% ability for catching and killing of SARS-CoV-2.

• The air disinfection system is significant to control spread of COVID-19.

Abstract
Airborne transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) via air-conditioning systems poses a significant threat for the continued escalation of the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Considering that SARS-CoV-2 cannot tolerate temperatures above 70 °C, here we designed and fabricated efficient filters based on heated nickel (Ni) foam to catch and kill SARS-CoV-2. Virus test results revealed that 99.8% of the aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 was caught and killed by a single pass through a novel Ni-foam-based filter when heated up to 200 °C. Additionally, the same filter was also used to catch and kill 99.9% of Bacillus anthracis, an airborne spore. This study paves the way for preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other highly infectious airborne agents in closed environments.
 

SLVRBK

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Materials Today Physics
Available online 7 July 2020

Catching and killing of airborne SARS-CoV-2 to control spread of COVID-19 by a heated air disinfection system
Luo Yua, Garrett K.Peel, Faisal H.Cheema, William S.Lawrence, Natalya Bukreyeva, Christopher W.Jinks, Jennifer E.Peel, Johnny W.Peterson, Slobodan Paessler, Monzer Hourani,Zhifeng Ren
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mtphys.2020.100249

Highlights
• A heated air disinfection system was fabricated based on commercial Ni foams.

• The Ni-foam-based filters showed ~100% ability for catching and killing of SARS-CoV-2.

• The air disinfection system is significant to control spread of COVID-19.

Abstract
Airborne transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) via air-conditioning systems poses a significant threat for the continued escalation of the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Considering that SARS-CoV-2 cannot tolerate temperatures above 70 °C, here we designed and fabricated efficient filters based on heated nickel (Ni) foam to catch and kill SARS-CoV-2. Virus test results revealed that 99.8% of the aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 was caught and killed by a single pass through a novel Ni-foam-based filter when heated up to 200 °C. Additionally, the same filter was also used to catch and kill 99.9% of Bacillus anthracis, an airborne spore. This study paves the way for preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other highly infectious airborne agents in closed environments.
Are they heating the air or the filter to nearly 400 F?
 

UrbanCowboy1

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Phoenix, AZ
COVID-19 Update: Tuesday, July 14th
Lags in testing again, healthcare workers dying, issues in Kazakhstan, a new air filter, and another mask study. It's a little heavy today so do a mental health check first.

1. As numbers surge we have begun to have significant PPE shortages again, hospitals in hot spots are starting to become overwhelmed, shutdowns are happening again, and testing results are lagging. In some areas, we are back to it taking weeks to get test results due to testing backlogs. Arizona has been particularly hard hit on the testing front with testing taking up to 2 weeks. This can perpetuate the spread and significantly limit the usefulness of contact tracing.

2. 3000 healthcare workers around the world have died from COVID-19. The Five countries who have lost the most include: Russia (545), UK (540), USA (507), Brazil (351) and Mexico (248). This does not include those who have become ill.

3. Kazakhstan is reporting a strange new pneumonia that appears to be more deadly than coronavirus. The WHO believes this is just improperly diagnosed COVID but they are investigating to determine if that is the case or if this is something new. It is very possible this is COVID given the high number of false negatives some tests produce. I will keep monitoring this closely and keep you updated, try not to worry about this one yet.

4. Scientists claim to have developed a new air filter that can capture and kill 99.8% of SARS-Cov2 (the virus that causes COVID). The findings were published in Materials Today Physics and is a nickel foam filter. The filter works by heating up to kill the virus. I am guessing this is not available at Home Depot yet.

5. A study published in Physics of Fluid tested masks to determine how effective they were at blocking droplets. (worth noting this are simulated droplets not actual covid laden droplets). With no covering the droplets traveled up to 8 feet. With a bandanna the droplets made it 3 feet 7 inches, with a folded handkerchief they made it 1 foot 3 inches, with a commercial cone mask they made it 8 inches, with a quilted cotton mask they made it only 2.5 inches. So as long as you aren't a close talker..... This was not a clinical trial, it was a mechanical simulation, but we do get some great information from it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Six months is a long time. It is a long time to stay home, a long time to go without hugging a loved one, a long time to be vigilant about hand-washing and distancing and saying no all the time to your children who just want to see their friends. It's a long time to be in a house alone. It's a long time to be in a house with others. And that can easily wear you down, exhaust you, and make you throw your hands up in surrender. And while it may feel like you are the only one doing it - the only one staying home, the only one wearing a mask, the only one telling their child they can't go, yet again.....you are not. There are lots of people experiencing those same struggles, feeling that same exhaustion, wondering if it will matter and contemplating if its worth it. You see, the right choices are rarely the easy ones. Sometimes we get that lucky, but more often, the right road is the one fraught with obstacles, hurdles and thorns. Surround yourself with people who are on the same road. Encourage others to join you. Rest often. Eat cheesecake, and remind each other that you are amazing and strong and resilient and that one day this will end because you chose the right path.

I like these updates, I honestly do. But I have a small problem with point one and two. Point one is anecdotal as I'm just one person, but I live in Phoenix, which apparently is the center of Satan's butthole. My son had a COVID test two weeks ago. We were told the results would be available in 48 hours...that's how long it was taking them to turn these around. We got it back in 36 hours. Not sure where your friend is getting 2 weeks from.
Point two is market experience as I work in the medical supply field. We can't get people to take our PPE. We even went through an EAU to make sure we could be 'part of the solution' as these things aren't in our normal mix of products. It's the hospitals themselves that aren't providing it to their staff. We're offering this stuff for almost free and the same hospitals that are being portrayed as being overrun and under supplied aren't interested or say they are good. And to give a clue, I'm talking about equipment that is measured in cents, not dollars. This isn't price gouging; we'll lose money from a total margin perspective.

Lastly, I'll give a note of hope from me. Phoenix is ground zero right now. There's no where else that's had a rise of cases like us and we'll explode past New York soon on cases per million basis. Based on my current projections we won't peak until sometime past 35K/million which puts us in either first or second place in the world for cases per million. And while all that is terrible and it's putting an enormous strain on people mentally and physically... it's not that bad. No one is eating their dogs. No social services have broken down. It's not chaos in the streets. People are still generally polite, maybe even moreso than before. We call our friends and family on the phone, we have food and water (which is good because it was like 117 over the weekend). I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that the reality of life out there is much different than the social media version of it that you're reading through whatever device you happen to have handy. Try to remember you're viewing humanity through a lens when you read things here as opposed to experiencing them in the real world. I'm not saying it's all peas and carrots, there's a lot of heartbreak. But please repeat to yourself: "The world is not ending. The world is not ending. The world is not ending." Thanks.