President of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Dispels Myths on Catching COVID-19

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As people begin to emerge from house arrest, there is much fear about a resurgence of cases of COVID-19. People wonder how to protect themselves, and some are going to a lot of trouble to disinfect packages and groceries.

Here are some facts:

This is a respiratory virus. It gets into your body through the airway, or from your eyes as tears flush it into your nose.

People generate aerosols by speaking or breathing, not just by coughing or sneezing.

Viral particles are much smaller than the holes in your mask, which only filters out the larger particles the virus may be riding on.


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SARS-CoV-2 can be recovered from the air for hours and from surfaces for days. There is no evidence of transmission through skin, but if you touch a contaminated object and then your face, you might infect yourself. There is evidence that frequent handwashing reduces influenza transmission.

Although SARS-CoV-2 is not known to be transmitted in food, once in your blood it can attack the GI tract—many patients have digestive symptoms. It can be recovered from feces.

SARS-CoV-2 seems to be most transmissible at the onset of symptoms, but transmission may occur, perhaps in 25 percent of cases, before symptoms are noticed.

Viruses are bundles of complex chemicals, which must be configured or folded just right to do any damage. They immediately begin to deteriorate in the environment, at a rate determined by temperature, humidity, and other factors, and are destroyed by ultraviolet light, soap, and many chemicals.


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These are some sources of known or suspected outbreaks:

At choir practice, 40 of 60 choir members got infected. Singing is a great aerosol generator.

At an exclusive meeting of executives in a small closed room in December, attended by a person who had recently traveled to China, everyone got sick, and one transmitted the illness to his girlfriend. Coronavirus was not considered at that time.


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During the 2004 SARS coronavirus epidemic in Hong Kong, more than 300 people in an apartment building apparently got infected from an aerosol generated by a toilet flush, which entered the shared ventilation system.

Household contact is the most common source of infection. Up to 10 percent of household contacts got infected in China, but the rate dropped to 1 to 5 percent once the outbreak was recognized.

Cruise ships and nursing homes have people confined together for prolonged periods, served by common staff members.


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People rarely get infected outdoors except in very large, crowded gatherings.

The most important ways to stay safe include avoiding poorly ventilated areas containing aerosol generators, and staying away from people who are returning from viral hot spots. Stack-and-pack, “energy-efficient” apartments; public transportation; re-usable, contaminated shopping bags—all promoted by Green New Deal enthusiasts—are all virus-friendly.

Are you getting enough vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin A?

               

Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital. She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989.

She is currently president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. She is the author of YOUR Doctor Is Not In: Healthy Skepticism about National Healthcare, and the second through fifth editions of Sapira's Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis published by Wolters Kluwer. She authored books for schoolchildren, Professor Klugimkopf’s Old-Fashioned English Grammar and Professor Klugimkopf’s Spelling Method, published by Robinson Books, and coauthored two novels published as Kindle books, Neomorts and Moonshine. 

More than 100 of her papers have been published in the scientific and popular literature on a variety of subjects including risk assessment, natural and technological hazards and nonhazards, and medical economics and ethics. She is the editor of AAPS News, the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter, and Civil Defense Perspectives, and is the managing editor of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

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