Over the past five months I have seen some amazing articles and misinformed attempts on understanding Covid-19. We are at the restlessness stage of this pandemic, and we just want to get back to normal. I've heard this in relationship to school, church, and general life. In the past month, I've probably heard it 8-10 times.
The purpose of this writing is to pull reliable links, and bring them together in a way to understand how dangerous our restlessness truly is. By the end of this writing, I hope to inform you, and give you an easy resource to share with others.
Pathogens need a carrier
Pathogens are a fancy word for diseases. Some diseases are fungal, some are bacterial, and others are viral.
It's important to know, most pathogens need something to carry it to a host. For example:
Diseases transmitted through poop or food: Cholera, typhoid, Hepatitis A and E, and tapeworms, Ebola and salmonella
Diseases spread through sexual contact: gonorrhea, HPV, chlamydia, HIV
Diseases spread through air: measles, TB, flu, cold, Covid-19
When we think "airborne" we imagine the little virus or bacteria coming out of our mouth, all by itself, flying across the room into someone else's unsuspecting lungs. Viruses and bacteria can't do that. They are dangerously simplistic in their design. Because they are simplistic, their transmission (or how they spread) happens by hitching a ride on something. When it comes to airborne transmission, it happens through our snot or saliva. Our breath is very wet, and we breath out that saliva with every breath we take.
With the flu or cold, most of the danger is in snot. We touch our runny nose, and then touch objects. The snot carries the virus to an object where it waits for someone to touch it, and later bring the unwashed hand to their mouth.
With Covid-19 the danger is in the breath.
Check out this link for more information on carriers:
How a mask helps to stop the spread
There's a great meme going around I want to share with you:
Unless you've lived under a rock, or been in a coma, you've probably seen this meme.
I saw a video the other day that suggested this meme is garbage because the virus is smaller than the holes in a face mask. Pee is liquid, the virus is a virus.
Let me break it down:
Like I mentioned above, the virus needs a carrier.
For Covid-19, that carrier is our breath.
Imagine we were talking people rather than viruses. Of course a lone person can't get very far on their feet. An average person can maybe get 5 miles in a day. You give them a bike and now they can get 15 miles. You give them a car and now they can get hundreds of miles. You give them a plane and now they can get thousands. The bike, car, and plane carry the human further.
Now, let's say you want to keep that human from getting out of their city. You build a 20 foot wall around that city. They can still get in their car and drive, but if they try to drive out of the city, they would run into that wall, and it would stop them.
Is it possible for that person to get out of the car, and try to climb around or through the wall? Sure, but you've taken away what is carrying them, and they won't get very far past that wall.
This is how it is for Covid-19 and masks. The virus is like the human, the breath droplet is like the car, and the wall is like the mask. The mask is not trying to stop the virus, only the vehicle the virus uses to infect others. This is also why it's still important to social distance while wearing a mask. Wearing a mask means the virus can only travel a foot, vs the 6-10 feet without a mask.
Check out this link for more information on how masks stop the carrier of Covid-19:
Why 10 minutes breathing someone's air is enough
A virus needs multiple copies of itself to infect a person.
Think of it this way:
The bigger the army, the easier it is to overtake the stronghold. If you got one person with a gun (even a big gun) it's pretty easy for the stronghold to take out that person and stay safe. If you instead have thousands attacking the stronghold, the stronghold find's itself spreading their resources thin to protect itself.
It's also like ants. An ant bites you, you can smack that ant, and you're done. On the other hand, you step on an ant pile, it's going to be extremely difficult to kill all those ants quickly. They can overtake you, and you might have to take drastic measures to get rid of them.
This is like viruses.
Breathing releases 33 viral particles per minute. You might walk next to someone with Covid-19 for a minute. Breathing in their direct air for that short amount of time is not enough to get infected. That's like the lone human attacking the stronghold.
Talking releases 200 viral particles per minute. One minute talking to an infected person would not be enough of a load to infect you.
You need to take in about 1000 virus particles to become infected. That means, you chat with an infected person for 5 minutes, you've breathed in enough of their infected air to catch Covid-19.
Here's where things become dicey. Someone who is infected coughs. If they didn't contain that cough, they've released enough of a viral load that you need 0 minutes breathing it in. One breath is enough. Also, if you are in an enclosed room with someone infected, all it takes is 50 minutes anywhere in that room to breath in enough virus to catch it.
Check out these links for more information on viral loads:
Air Conditioning: The biggest spreader
Most transmissions are happening in places with central heating and air. To understand why this is happening, we must first understand how air conditioning units work.
Air conditioners are designed to push air down to the people. Velocity, or the speed, the air is going helps quickly cool down a room. It lowers the cost of an air conditioning system, because faster air means fewer vents are required to cool a room.
There are those who believe air conditioning units don't play a role in the spread of Covid-19 because the breathed and spoken droplets are too heavy to be sucked into the unit, and spread back out. For the most part this is true. It's this truth that undermines the real danger of air conditioning and the spread of Covid-19.
(I've gotta go off track for just a moment, but I'll come back around, I promise.)
One of the ways major theme parks keeps guests comfortable is by misting them. These literal water droplets can only go so far on their own. To spread them further parks will put big fans behind the spray. This gives them the most bang for the buck.
We can see these droplets and can avoid them if we wish to.
Back in April we learned something about air conditioning units and Covid-19. In a restaurant in China, someone had unknowingly been infected with the virus. Not only did the person spread the virus to those at their table, they spread it to two other tables in a straight line across the room. These two other tables were more than 6 feet away. How did that happen?
The air conditioning unit picked up the breath and pushed it across the room. Air conditioning vents are like the fans behind the misters as theme parks, only we can't see our breath. It obliterates the 6 ft rule.
Check out these links for more information on air conditioning and viral spread:
What to do with this information
Share. I put this together to be an easy resource to share with congregations and groups. Misinformation is our biggest enemy right now.
Maybe we're all going to get it eventually, but we don't need to all get it at once. Getting it at once puts a stress on our healthcare industry, and it forces them to choose who lives and who dies. Any death is tragic, but when that death could have been prevented by simple steps, it's overly tragic.