Saturday, July 18, 2020

Asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic spread is making this wave dangerously hard to control (politically) in the US

There a couple of important articles today on where we’re headed.

The Washington Post, in a detailed article by Arianna Eunjung Cha, discusses the issue of superspreaders, especially in conjunction with the more recent concerns over aerosolized transmission.

Many buildings, including condos and apartments, might have to take a hard look at their ventilation systems (especially central air).  Perhaps businesses could install new ultraviolet devices to kill aerosolized virus.

There could also be a concern that we develop evidence that some asymptomatic people have trouble completely eliminating virus that can be transmitted, and put them in legal danger of permanent quarantine, like “Typhoid Mary”.  It would be very important to develop antivirals that can be given early.  There are some disturbing, although inconclusive, reports that reducing testosterone in men may make them less likely to become infected or to eliminate infection (GLBT blog July 15), something I would want no part of.

(Video, Ted Talk, How the pandemic will shape the near future, Bill Gates.)

Helen Branswell writes in Stat (and Apple News) “How to fix the COVID Dumpster Fire in the U.S."  Yes, a total lockdown is untenable. She wisely focuses on keeping people from congregating in enclosed indoor spaces.  That might cut retail back to just grocery and pharmacy everywhere for some weeks.  But what about all the workplaces that support the power grid, and Internet. Much of this is now work-from-home, which makes it more vulnerable to hacks. We could argue that you even shut a lot of that down to a bare minimum if you don’t want people in enclosed spaces at all, but then do sites and everything else come back, or are some of them not allowed to if they aren’t commercial or essential enough? We seem to be headed to an almost Marxist view of what activities in society should carry on, given that the future could be much more challenging from the viewpoint of controlling disease than it ever has been, for some years.

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