13 March 2020

new territory

Greetings from an active member of the social distancing movement. We have set up our headquarters here with toilet paper and pasta in the cupboards and indulge in secret hand washing movements at the appropriate times.
As a well experienced social recluse I basically continue as usual and act unimpressed.

There are exactly five door handles I have to touch between home and my lonely desk at work where strict hygiene measures have always been in place anyway. I am waiting for the day when I will get the email telling me to stay home entirely. It will happen. (I am doing home office for most of my work anyway.)

The highlight of our (and the nation's) day is the half hour podcast at midday by one of the leading virologists here who patiently explains the latest findings and developments in words of science, reason and calm.

  • Fun fact no.1: the virus spreads via droplets and fomites during close unprotected contact but this is where all similarities with the flu ends.
  • Fun fact no.2: most transmissions at the outbreak in China have been within households. This means you are unlikely to pick up the virus just walking down the street or having casual contact with someone.
  • Fun fact no.3: there are no indications or science models that promise a slowing down of the virus come spring and summer.
  • Fun fact no. 4: known human corona viruses (seven of these have been around for a while) can stay on inanimate surfaces for up to nine days and there is a strong indication that this new one will be just as persitent (source). But remember, the virus does not jump from the surface into your face, it's your hands that bring it there.
  • Fun fact no 5:  if you wash your hands after touching a person, a surface, five door handles between home and office desk etc. and before you touch your face, your chances of not having infected yourself are high.
  • Fun fact no. 6: kids are not a risk group but can carry the virus to their grannies and granddads who are vulnerable.
  • Fun fact no. 7: we will all get it, or at least about 70% of us. I have never been good at maths but I am beginning to get a vague grip of exponential growth. Ever heard of the lily pond parable?

Regardless of how healthy you are, how much yoga you do, or how many smoothies you drink, you are going to be susceptible to catching this virus. If you get it, it could be a mild or a serious infection. The data so far suggests that severity increases with age and if you have other underlying health problems. So please, let's all behave like we could get infected and not be deluding ourselves that it couldn’t possibly happen to us. And instead of hugging and kissing, let's take care of each other by keeping a safe distance and helping out with practical stuff.


Ms. Moon said...

1. The powers that be in the US don't seem to either know or want to share what's really going on. We need sensible and scientific data and knowledge. Obviously.
2. I love Nona more than I can say.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is why we are not on the road right now driving 700 miles south for my nephew's wedding. Our state governor asked that all gatherings of more than 250 people be postponed or cancelled. The wedding has 200 expected guests. For that number people are asked to stay at least six feet apart. Imagine a wedding where people have to stay six feet apart. We are living in crazy times. Stay healthy there, Sabine.

Colette said...

Wonderful video. Disney World in Orlando closed yesterday!

My life so far said...

I love Nona! It's so good to hear from you because I worry about you. Now I know you're okay. Thank you:)

I came home from work today. We had too many staff and I have a headache that won't go away and a cough. The cough is from my acid reflux but try telling immune compromised patients that, so I was wearing a mask which is so hot. Easier to go home.

Take care woman, stay healthy.

Steve Reed said...

Very sensible advice and interesting facts. This is such a strange world at the moment.

Sabine said...

I just watch a bit of cnn and somebody with that president explaining about testing for coronavirus and that it will take "only" 48 hrs.
WTF? The PCR testing here takes a max of five hrs between sampling and results.

am said...

"Let's help each other even 'tho we're far apart."

Greetings, my friend. Thank you always.

Tara said...

great list of facts there. and Nona, well isn't she a breath of fresh air? I am retired so don't have to contend with going to work, but my daughter is a teacher and her school district just imposed on-line learning until the end of March. I think it will end up being longer than that. We are only just beginning here in the US. Like Nona says, let's all do our part to take care of ourselves and each other.

Elizabeth said...

Sigh. Stay well. These are strange times indeed.

ellen abbott said...

yes Sabine, you stay safe. I'm not worried and I refuse to panic. I mean what good will it do. I'm taking sensible precautions and we are basically anti-social anyway and hardly ever eat out so it's SOP around here. but with more hand washing and less physical contact.

Joared said...

I’m on your social distancing team. Am all for just a head tipping greeting in preference to handshake. Was surprised to learn the virus survives 9 days on some surfaces as last I heard it was 3 to 5 days. Just goes to show we’re constantly learning new facts about this devil of a microbe. Latest from Southern California after my original post is that our Governor has asked that everyone 65 and older self-isolate, staying in our homes. I’m not surprised, having anticipated things would become more challenging so early on when I shopped gradually picked up a few items to augment my earthquake emergency kit, just in case I might need to isolate either voluntarily or because I had to ride out a bout coping with recovering from it home alone. Told my kids if I get sick don’t catch flights to come. I’ll either get better or I won’t, so no point in putting them at risk. They either already do, or will be able to, work from their homes though my granddaughter who has unique autoimmune issues is in pharmaceutical grad school plus works part time at a major drugstore chain so she’s more vulnerable. Do take good care of yourself.

Roderick Robinson said...

Age makes you vulnerable. Does greater age make you even more vulnerable? I mean seventy's no age at all. I was still ski-ing then. Oh, and there's that addendum to the death announcements; the majority were old (check) and had "underlying conditions". But how deep down? I have a feisty ingrowing toenail.

37paddington said...

70 percent of the world is a lot of people. But we go on. Be safe, my friend.