Virus Protection Basics, by H.L.T.

The Corona/China/Covid19 virus is a reality. What the concern here is the correct response to the actual threat the virus deserves. Some consider this ridiculous, some consider this the end of the world and some just don’t know. Our responses are based on what information we decide to enter our mix to formulate our opinion.   Watching Fox News this morning the opening of the show reminded me of a B movie that I decided was not worth watching.   Fear is leading everything and that is a bad leader.   Should this be an overblown reaction I hope people promoting this are held responsible and our fear is unfounded. If this is truly a major threat we do have to do our duty and do whatever it is we can. Remember this entire crisis is about other people and our reactions toward them. Can we take care of ourselves and others? Yes we can.

I’m a laboratory director who has worked for over 20 years to decrease fear and panic of environmental concerns unless they should be truly a significant risk. I will begin by saying that most of the fear and panic is media generated with manipulation of fear to drive behavior.  A response to fear can be real enough to cause greater damage than what you are fearful of. When the news agencies raise concerns there is a need to process what they have said and I hope to instill reason and understanding on how to properly respond.

Since most of what you have heard is hearsay or second-hand knowledge at best coming from lawyers or news folks, you must hold that against what you know is true. I do not believe in conspiracy theories, I know people are doing things, so I call them speculation theories. We are all trying to figure out what they are doing and why. Approaching this from a scientific frame of mind, and knowing only a few things to be true, how do we come up with a solid plan? A plan to put each one of us in a strong position to weather through all the nonsense while taking care of what absolutely is necessary should something really be happening.

Cleanliness and Health

We are dealing with presumably a virus. According to recent Newsweek article bylined by Jenni Fink that quoted epidemiologists, with the virus is present you have a ~13.8% chance of contracting it and having severe symptoms. To reduce that chance of contracting the virus we are told to wash our hands with plenty of soap. [JWR Adds: Soap does indeed work well to break up the lipid shell of a virus, making it incapable of replicating.]  This is true, so do that. A sneeze puts microscopic droplets (aerosols) in the air, containing extremely small viruses. These droplets float around in air, then settle on surfaces. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask to limit your exposure  We are told to limit close contact, also good. Cleanliness is incredibly important.

Your shoes bring in an incredible amount of foreign material into your household, leave them in the garage, outside, or in a specific spot, don’t wear them around the house, pretty simple. Work clothes, if they are dirty, take them off outside your living area. Dirty clothes, clean them, don’t let them pile up in your bedroom. Counters and horizontal surfaces, keep them clean, put dirty dishes in the dishwasher or clean them, don’t let them hang around in the sink. These are some of the things you should consider. Here’s why:

Those Floating Motes

Have you ever sat near a window and a ray of sunshine beams through and you see all the tiny particulate in the air floating around? Assuming you have, my specialty is analyzing and telling you what you are seeing and what it is composed of. Generally, this stuff flying around is the general wear and tear of your house, clothes, your skin, others and life in your house, outside stuff coming in your house and so on.

Generally we find cellulose and synthetic fibers (clothes) lots of skin fragments (you) Mold, danders from pets, combustion products, pollens, and so on. We have been breathing this in since the day we were born, it’s normal and our bodies can handle it. If one of these categories becomes overwhelmingly large or a foreign particulate becomes added to the mix, odds increase of a possible reaction and we are all about decreasing them.  For example, mold counts go up because a leaky waterline to your fridge and it soaks your drywall in an area you don’t normally look at. You feel different, something is not right, you begin researching on the Internet and you conclude you may have a mold problem (sometimes at this point people think you’re crazy) along with a dose of fear many websites thrive on. Some people panic and are told to move out of their homes and they do. A legal mess usually ensues. A reasonable investigation will find the mold, remove the stuff, clean up, and things go back to normal.

I tell you this because the one thing you cannot do is remove all possibility of contact with particulates but with reasoned thought and actions you can minimize risk. Minimizing airborne dusts can help reduce possible contact. Change your furnace filters. If you’re especially concerned about indoor air quality then get a free-standing electric HEPA air-cleaner at store such as Home Depot. You will notice the clarity of your air increase dramatically. These are simple solutions, known to be true, and will help minimize risk and alleviate the fear of the unknowns.

Here in Michigan there are Ad Council billboards telling people to prepare for an emergency and they have been up for years. Folks I have seen in the stores are not panicking, they are prepping rather quickly. I think they look a bit sheepish knowing they should have listened and done this sooner. Good for them. My hope is that this is the beginning of a great awakening. Eyes open and ears hearing.

Jesus said “fear not”. He also said “beware of the scribes.” He also said be confident in his word, that is truly the only thing we can be certain is true.




28 Comments

  1. Great information HLT…
    As a resident of the northern part of the same state, I’ve seen the same billboards many times.
    Although the people in the stores are ‘not panicking, but prepping quickly’, those coming from the south half of the state are cleaning out the small stores and gas stations here in the north. These small business’s prepare for the summer crowds, they just don’t expect them in March…
    Last Thursday evening, I-75 north looked like the start of 4th of July weekend with campers, ATV trailers, even some boats (and the lakes are still half frozen!). I saw some tent campers on the public Forest Service land near my home yesterday, and it’s still in the 20’s at night.
    These folks, although not technically the ‘Golden Hoard’ yet, if this gets any worse, the hoard could be next.
    I don’t think this will get much worse, I believe we’re coming to the apex very soon, judging by the apex we saw in china, then again I believe very little of what I see / hear from china.
    America’s medical and technical knowledge and production (sans the red tape) is the very best there is. I see positive action(s) coming soon.
    As someone who’s been ‘prepping’ for over 45 years, I’ve become quite the ‘optimistic pessimist’. (or would that be a ‘pessimistic optimist’?)

  2. Thank you, HLT! Excellent reminders related to air filtration and shoes-at-the-door!

    From your post: “My hope is that this is the beginning of a great awakening. Eyes open and ears hearing.”

    Among our hopes and prayers is that tremendous good will come through these difficult times, and the period of recovery that follows.

  3. Thank you, a voice of reason!! I know people are scared but we need to look past the surface, do a little due diligence. There is always a silver lining! Look how many of the people that always thought you were CRAZY are now starting to to understand it is a good idea to have more than a days worth of food stored away. How many more weapons are in the hands of the civilian population since the start of this scare?

    I have always felt that the major negative impact (other than the deaths, one is to many) will be the cascade effect into other areas of out lives, financial, social and political.

    We assume nearly everything, we believe many things and we really KNOW very few things.

  4. I simply do not understand this. You do realize that in the last two days our total deaths doubled. We are barely on the beginning of the upward curve of infections and deaths. Over 2000 people died in the U.S. already and they should not have been fearful? Really!

  5. Prior to COVID by several months, I was speaking with a young man I work with who has four young children. He was talking about the large number of colds and other bugs that cycled through their house and while not devestating, continually ruined their fun for several years. They got tired of it and became hand washing, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes Nazis. He says they saw a dramatic reduction in illness in their family and it gave them back their weekends in particular to go do fun things.

    Something I feel like I have observed for years, is a degradation in sanitation throughout our society. I may be very wrong but it seems people and particularly younger people do not keep their houses and general surroundings as clean as in the past. I know my mother and my mother-in-law keep/kept their houses much cleaner than I see most people keep their houses now. I also know how much deep cleaning my mother made me do growing up and how picky she was about the final results.

    I also notice that minor wound care seems more lax than in the past. One of my best friends tells stories of his mother using iodine that make it sound as if she was chasing him around the house with a gallon bucket of it and a paint brush every time he got a paper cut. On a serious note he related this to me after his teenage son got MRSA in a minor wound. My mother’s weapon of choice was hydrogen peroxide.

    Now every time you point a finger at someone you are pointing three fingers back. I can be quite the slob sometimes, although when I do clean I revert to my mother’s OCD training. And I am the guy that never treats a wound unless it just won’t stop bleeding. And then it sometimes is just with toilet paper and electrical tape, which I usually have a roll of. (Although the combination does make a great splint that will immobilize your finger and keep the cut from reopening when you probably should have stiches but don’t.) I seldom use antiseptic although I seem to frequently find a way to get electrical contact cleaner in my cuts as well. Maybe that counts as an antiseptic?

    Like the article says, reevaluating our general cleanliness practices can probably go a long way toward helping this situation and preventing future ones.

    1. That wound gel Infowars sells is magic. I was amazed how quickly a minor cut healed with it. Could be some placebo effect going on but supposedly it’s the same stuff hospitals use. Whatever works.

      I clean with hydrogen peroxide also.

      My personal philosophy is not to be a clean freak because I want my immune system exposed to pathogens in order to develop immunity. If soldiers don’t train and fight, they get weak and stupid.

      I rarely get sick but when I do it’s something pretty bad that lays me out for several days.

      I do remove my footwear when going in to the house, though. Just makes sense. Less stuff to clean and less often.

      1. I’ve been having to enter my house under full decontamination process since my wife moved in with me. I do alot of itchy work and work around a lot of biohazzards not to mention the dust.

        I’m like you don’t often get sick but when I do it’s. “I’m commin Elizabeth”

        But with that said my focus has been don’t get others potentially sick , help where I can, and generally be the kinda person who can look my lord in his eyes if I’m going to meet him.

        It doesn’t matter if it was bio made or taken advantage of… It must be passed through. It’s much easier to worry about the rest when it’s strangers than when it’s your neighbors (even if it’s not your city )

  6. The school I went to was controlled by a bunch of hard shell ranchers and farmers. In the seventh grade, we had a fifteen minute hygiene class. After a series of classes on what that meant, we were assigned partners and every morning for about a month, we checked hands, fingernails, behind the ears and overall appearance. It was discontinued after that one year, but that year we had little to no absence due to illness. Any nasty cracks as a result of the class were dealt with quickly and very firmly. I believe it was spurred on by an outbreak of flu, colds and concern about polio.

  7. There are plenty of rational, quality information coming from the CDC and similar *real* experts. Read them! Not some vague person who actually wrote “We are dealing with presumably a virus.” Facts matter, science matters.

    1. @Geoguy:

      “Facts matter, science matters” – but for many people, apparently not.

      “Maff and science is haaaaard”, whined the majority of several generations of Americans. So this is where we find ourselves now, with people thinking this is “presumably”
      a virus, medical professionals being derided as “alarmists spreading fear” and folks emphatically insisting this is all a plot by the New World Order to ensure the demise of the US economy.

      The level of arrogant dismissiveness reminds me of Ilhan Omar referring to the 9-11 attacks as “some people did something”.

  8. HLT, Thanks for your balanced and sensible views on the virus. By Easter I believe many more people in this country will come to the same conclusions. The UK scientist Neil Fergusen, whose doomsday models predicted Armageddon and was used by so many officials here and abroad to lock us all down, has now revised his forecast of 500,000 million deaths in the UK down to 20,000 or less. The same dramatic forecast change goes for here also That’s still a lot of people dying, but not the end of the world.

    1. The math doesn’t look good. The deaths will double every few days. Right now their are half a dozen cities in the U.S. that are considered hot spots but in two weeks every city will be seeing many more sick and some deaths. What we need is for some medical break through to prevent it but unless that happens the death rate in 18 months in the U.S. could be 200,000. The rest of the world in the millions. The 3rd world will be off the charts. It’s not inevitable but that is what the math is telling us. A good example of this is Spain’s death toll today in the high 800’s. This virus is the big one. Make no mistake this is going to be a SHTF year or two.

  9. Completely forgot about furnace filters. Though I don’t think those will be in demand like other items.
    Just added to my “Lowe’s” list. Cheap enough.

    Thanks HLT. It’s those little things a person picks up here and there that really do make a difference.

  10. First, do some research: Look up “GISAID”. Then, “s clade” and “g clade”. These are the two types of Corona virus now in action.

    The number crunchers project that by April 15th, estimated infections will be some 260 million. Estimated deaths will be some 305,000.

    The National Institute of Health is in accord with these numbers.

  11. Thought on the golden horde for the day:

    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
    Matthew 25:40

  12. The latest word is “sorta” good news. Because of more and better data about the rate of infection, the ratio between numerator and denominator is much reduced.

    For now, GISAID and the NIH expect that by April 15th there will be some 260 million infected in the US and some 305,000 deaths.

    That’s a death rate of only 0.12% of those infected. Vast improvement over the earlier 7%. Earlier? Too small a denominator.

    Another “my guy” with appropriate expertise pointed out that the probability of infection is more from touching than breathing. Door knobs. Counter tops. UPS packages–and contents. Mail.

  13. Great article!

    Back in early November I purchased 3 Medify M40 HEPA filtration units for my home. Our house was built in 1861, with several added additions over the years. I have noticed a SIGNIFICANT difference in the air quality in our house. These units are not cheap, around $300 each and filters are about $60 each , but I am extremely happy with this investment along with monthly furnace filter changes and regular deep cleaning of our house goes a long way to better health.

    I remember well Saturday morning chores growing up!! My mother would insist on this and check our work. We were not allowed to go out and play, Ect unless our chore were done. This has shaped me in the cleaning of my own house and like you have stated, I myself have noticed housekeeping seems lacking in the younger generation but also in friends my own age.
    I also have worked retail for many years and notice that most of the people I have worked with (Not everyone) lack basic cleaning skills in the retail environment.
    Now that we have a pandemic on our hands and places are sanitizing and scrubbing everything in sight, I hope that this will be carried forward into the everyday routine . It’s rather astounding how dirty retail (Especially Food/Drink places were) These should be best practices anyway to keep employees and customers safe at ALL TIMES, not just all of the sudden.

    Have a Rockin great day!

  14. To: The Guardian
    Neil Ferguson’s supposed walking back of his original analysis has been misinterpreted. See below. We’re a long way from being out of the woods yet.

    1/4 – I think it would be helpful if I cleared up some confusion that has emerged in recent days. Some have interpreted my evidence to a UK parliamentary committee as indicating we have substantially revised our assessments of the potential mortality impact of COVID-19.

    2/4 -This is not the case. Indeed, if anything, our latest estimates suggest that the virus is slightly more transmissible than we previously thought. Our lethality estimates remain unchanged.

    3/4 – My evidence to Parliament referred to the deaths we assess might occur in the UK in the presence of the very intensive social distancing and other public health interventions now in place.

    4/4 – Without those controls, our assessment remains that the UK would see the scale of deaths reported in our study (namely, up to approximately 500 thousand).

    1. The problem with this whole thing is all of the b.s. every one has a side based off of geopolitics, politics, socioeconomic status etc.

      The base line is the statistics. Proven hard numbers.

      With health care available death rate is 2 to 5 %

      Hospitalization is at 20 to 25%
      With out hospitalization death rate is 15 to 20%

      Infection is 40%+

      Now if your community is not quarintined just less than half will get infected.

      Of that 40% 20% will get hospitalized. If your hospitals get over filled. Death rate is around 15% of 40% of the total population in your area (state , county , region).

      If you want to see the coronavirus map just look at the population map. If you want to see the population map just see the corona map. They are inextricably linked and dependent on each other.

      But the virus has already spread enough in this country to be unavoidable. And the hard percentages are what your looking at.

      I wish in my heart of hearts that those that be in power would have released that info earlier. Perhaps people would have acted different for the better (wide eyed optimism here)

      But at this point every one picking an ideological side drawing a line and blaming the other side for the hole in the life boat …. Well it kinda missed the point that there is a hole in the life boat and that assigned blame doesn’t fix the hole nor keep the boat from sinking.

      1. Thanks Noon for the boat analogy, I am getting really p’od (Lily edit) off at the liberals trying to make political hay out of this tragedy. But what can you expect from a bunch of political hacks that have been bribed into office and promise unworkable programs funded with other peoples money.

        Shame upon them, in this hour of need when suffering is running rampant in our country and the world for keeping their personal interest above the good of the people. Their actions are unbelievable, I can only hope this is their swan song.

        This is a time for our country and the world to get together and wipe this enemy from the Earth and help our fellow human beings as best we can.

  15. Please remember that as the furnace filter gets dirty, it filters better. But there is a toss up between filtration and air flow. Hopefully, all furnaces will shut down if not enough air passes across the heat exchanger, but I would not recommend a high efficiency filter on an older furnace.

  16. Royboy, as for using the manufacturer’s recommend filter for the house furnace, = you are right! …. People should stay safe with their heating and cooling equipment. = Follow the Manufacturer’s recommendations.

    1. H.L.T. recommended: “get a >free-standing electric HEPA air-cleaner”
    2. RKRGRL68 3 said, “Medify M40 HEPA filtration units.” [which are also >free standing.]

    3. I have two small Honeywell >free standing air-cleaners with HEPA filters. Information about HEPA filters can be found on the Internet. … The HEPA filters are very good filters, and are often used, where a ‘clean’ air is a necessary, such as hospital operating rooms, technical equipment usage and assembly, and intensive care areas.
    The 2 small HEPA filter systems are used by me to remove allergens from the air.

    HEPA is pronounced like HEP-ah as in HEP-cat except an ah sound at the end (no cat). HEPA is >>not HEE-PAW.

    [As an Information note: some ‘clean rooms’ will also slightly ‘over pressurize’ a room with clean air. The clean air is always exiting the higher pressured room, to the outside of a room or area. … It’s more difficult for ‘unwanted pollutants and such to swim upstream’ ~ against the exiting higher pressured air.]

    Such a system can make regular housekeeping easier. Now Bill Gate’s wife, surely, does not have to clean their big house. But, Mrs Gates would still want to try and keep dust, and such in the air, from entering the house.

  17. Regarding germs and guys…..I have seen so many times in the big men’s restrooms, that over two thirds of men do not wash their hands after going both 1 and 2.

    It’s disgusting and scary,especially if you’ve enjoyed a few bouts of projectile vomiting and ‘dire rear’ in your life.

    I wash and still shake hands (not with one I observe doing this!) but then carefully wash with soap thoroughly as soon as I can now.

    There’s plenty of diseases around….COVID 19 is an addition to the list, not the sole threat.

    Glad we prepped in advance.

  18. good point on the furnace filters, I keep forgetting to measure mine and pick one up at Coastal. That is our local everything store here in Oregon, Hmm, I wonder if they are even open. Only food and fuel stores are supposed to be open. I haven’t been outside my gate in over a week, Not necessarily because of the Corona, but because I’ve been chained to my work bench working. I think the work currently is an effort in futility since it’s for a company in the entertainment industry. I do have other things I should be doing,
    My Preps are pretty well OK. I have had most things together for years now. But I notice a complacency creeping in, and I know I should be doing something, but when I look around It’s mostly all done. The only thing I should get done is build some sand bag firing positions around the property and camouflage them. Huh, funny thing, this past fall, my buddy gave me three new camo nets. At the time I had no idea what to use them for. I think a good use would be to incorporate them in the firing positions.
    Blessings to all,
    Dave of Oregon

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