Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Studies Still Suggest COVID-19 is Droplet-Borne, Not Air-Borne; Also, Testing Performance Results of DIY Face Masks for Those Still Working With Others Indoors

It is often confusing, but there really are important differences between air-borne and droplet-borne, which I'll get to in a moment. 

However, just an FYI first -  recent studies by WHO are still not detecting virus RNA in air samples around known-infected patients, but WHO says these tests are ongoing and will be updated.

In other words, we're fairly sure, but not 100% sure, this virus is only droplet-borne. 

The confusion between air-borne and droplet-borne arises because many people are insisting they've contracted it without ever coming in physical contact with an infected person or even being within close proximity to anyone symptomatic, but just by being in the same room.

However, just like in the case of regular flu - which we're 100% certain is not airborne - infection can result despite no physical contact and/or no coughing in the environment, and this is attributed to being indoors, and therefore there is less open ventilation to disperse/dilute/move droplets - not because it's airborne.

When indoors with closed ventilation, contaminated droplets can remain concentrated on skin, fabric, and surfaces for up to 48 hours, making even brief physical contact with not only the person, but anything the person has touched even before they were symptomatic (i.e. coughing) -  as opposed to outside, where droplets can disperse/dilute/move within the hour.

Thus, social-distancing measurements are designed to keep you safe from even accidental contact with droplet range, especially indoors. 

Therefore, if you must still work indoors with others, disposable surgical gloves PLUS disposable face masks are best - HOWEVER - healthcare workers need them most, they are going into places where there is known risk, even known infection, every single day - so please do not even try to order face masks.

However, you can make your own - not as effective the N95, but still somewhat effective (see chart results below) - tightly-woven-fabric winter gloves you can wash or throw away immediately PLUS DIY face masks from the materials below may make the difference. 
According to this site (and others I've read), next to surgical masks, testing results have shown the next most effective DIY masks against microbes are homemade masks made of HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner bags.

This chart lists how they performed in testing ...

Otherwise, BIG thank you healthcare workers - especially emergency-room staff - for risking their lives by walking into known risk to help us - every single day. 

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