Wayne County Corona virus Hotspot What Are Your Options? By: Jim Bailey, R.N.

Photo by Buddhilakshan,  Dreamstime

Wayne County, Michigan is now considered a corona virus hotspot.  The County has an increasing percentage of all the corona virus cases in the United States and Michigan.  What does this mean to you?

As the numbers of people with corona virus increases, the chances of you coming into contact with someone infected also increases.  Going to the store has an increased chance of coming into contact with the virus.  Going to get gas and standing in line to pay has an increased chance of coming into contact with the virus.  The fact of this whole pandemic is if you are not in association with the virus, you are not going to get infected.  As obvious as that is, it is the key to understanding disease transmission, especially this disease and at this time. 

There are three main ways you are going to increase your chances of getting infected.  One, by having a large number of unprotected faces to face contacts, such as store clerks, border crossing guards, police officers, paramedics, etc.  Two, being part of a confined population like a nursing home, jail, prison, hospital, ship, assembly line, etc.  Third, being in a large group of people like at a concert, auditorium, political rally, a store, etc.

The United States government, with the support of local governments and media, just assuming, because of credentials, the Federal health system knows what it is talking about, and without these supporting folks doing their own critical thinking, are telling the public not to wear face masks for respiratory protection.  This is a respiratory, airborne disease.  If you are going to get the virus, if you are to be infected, then the chances are you will get the virus from breathing it in.  According to a research report, the virus can remain in the air up to three hours.  This means three hours is a number where the virus seems to clear from the air.  Logically, this means three hours is just a number meaning it can also be in the air more than three hours, depending on the conditions.  The government is advocating social distancing of six feet.  That does NOT mean that the virus goes six feet and there is a force field that stops the virus from moving.  It means that the government provided a distance where someone can interact with someone else and not be directly in the other individual’s face.  The closer the face to face contacts the higher the viral load being presented to the next individual.  The farther away, then less viral load.  You may still have contact with the virus, but in less quantity.

It is all a game of chance.  In nursing, older nurses were trained in absolutes:  there is dirty, clean, and sterile and never the twain shall they meet.  During this pandemic, the absolutes are to consider everyone as being potentially contagious.  This means the wife, kids, people in the store, neighbors, etc.  You do not take the chance.  You limit interaction according to who the individual is.  Family members are in the same house.  Air is shared, but limit the sharing of a potential virus if a family member is infected.  Forget the swapping of spit, no kissing, close hugs, sharing of food, eating utensils, cigarettes, joints, etc.  Use your common sense.  Same for strangers, but more restrictive.  Just like when you have sex with someone, you are also having sex with all the people your partner had sex with, same with this virus.  When you come into contact with folks out there you are also coming into contact with everyone that stranger came into contact with.  Wear a face mask for respiratory protection.  If you get infected think of who you are going to infect, and potentially kill?

Face masks have different efficiencies depending on the face mask material being used   Using no mask provides a 100% inefficiency.  Whatever is out there, you will be breathing directly into your lungs.  Any protection for the public, in terms of a face mask, is better than nothing.  The caveat to this is, the face mask material being used has to be known to be safe.  Your nose, and therefore your lungs, are just a nose away from what you are breathing in.  In other words, chemicals in the face mask material, any fibers, substances, etc. can make the “cure” worse than the disease.  As mentioned, the virus can remain in the air for three hours, or more.  This means an infected individual can deposit the virus into the air, and then be long gone, while an uninfected individual is breathing the same virus in.  If there are air drafts, the virus will move.  If in a car, the heater and air conditioner can move the air around in a confined environment.  Police carrying an infected individual in the squad car has the virus floating in the car even after the infected individual is no longer in the car.  This infected individual, once in the police station for questioning or processing, now creates the question if the virus will be distributed in the building by the air handling system, i.e. furnace, air conditioner, vents, etc. exposing other people.

In a corona virus hot spot, your chances of becoming infected increases tremendously.  When the corona virus was first showing up into the United States, I was advocating the governments, media, unions, employees in banks, border crossing guards, etc. to prepare for the virus by sitting down and reviewing their procedures to decrease virus exposure to staff.  One response was they did not want to act because it was not time to “panic”.  Well, it is time to panic.  With increased governmental staff going into quarantine, dying, and being sick it is only going to get worse.  Worse, in one way, is to the point of crippling government.  This is not the point to act in the usual government time or at usual government speed.  We need to have the government department heads sit down, AGAIN if they did it in the first place, and look at their procedures again to see if they missed anything in regards to staff exposure, thinking in terms of this being a respiratory, airborne disease and not mainly being a hand washing thing.  You need to tell the government people that things are getting worse and they need to do better.  Call them.  If past performance of some of these governmental folks says anything about current performance, they think everything is under control and they have done all they can.  That they won’t act until they are told what to do from higher up.  This is a recipe for disaster because higher ups are doing the same, they are doing their best and they are doing all that they can.

Wear a face mask. Wash hands like you usually did.  Don’t go nuts.  Damaged skin may be an infection point for disease transmission, if not for the corona virus, then some other disease.  Social distance, but you should be doing this anyway.  Cover your cough and sneeze, but you should be doing that anyway.  Do you really need to wear gloves for shopping, handling money, etc.?  Wearing your shoes into your living area may not be a good idea anyway.  Wearing your work clothes, shopping clothes, public interacting clothes, into your living area may not be a good idea.  Walking through the house to change your clothes may not be a good idea.  Holding young kids, while wearing outside clothes, may not be a good idea.  It is not the shaking of hands or “physical “contact” with people, it is the breathing the same air around an infected individual, chances increasing the closer one is, up to handshaking distance.  Everyone, including family members, because disease transmission can be from you or them to you, should limit getting close:  sleeping close, kissing, swapping spit, eating the same food, sharing eating utensils, tooth brushes, etc. is a quick way to share the virus and spread it.  (In China, a major way the virus was spread was within the family.)

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