By: Jim Bailey, R.N.
Above Photo by Airdone, Dreamstime
From the get-go, the messaging about the Covid-19 virus has been mixed, inaccurate, and falling short on how best for the public to protect themselves from being infected. It has not been just the delay and lack of planning by the government people who are in place to limit disasters from going their full course, but it almost seems like these folks are sitting in a back office somewhere trying to come up with ways to screw up how America protects itself. This whole thing is just a few months old. You saw it develop just like I did, so the facts are fresh in your mind. You’ve seen the virus spread from one country to many. You’ve seen the infections and deaths go from none up to where ever it is going to go.
In addition to the government spreading misinformation, the media was not questioning, critically, what the government was saying. One could see healthcare workers wearing face masks to protect themselves from infected people and the government sending out directives that face masks would not help the public except to help prevent the spread of the disease. A face mask works both ways. Yet, few questioned it. Finally, the government comes down with a recommendation for the public to use face masks, but does not require it. There is a discrepancy between the supply of face masks and the need. There are thousands of companies in the United States that could be put to use producing face masks with the same or better effectiveness than what is being produced by volunteers. Even in situations that would demand the use of face masks it is not required. In Canada, it is required that airline pilots wear face masks. Not in the United States.
The media is showing television shows, like Rachael Ray and Wendy, that are either actually having live audiences or are not readily displaying that the shows are pre-recorded from before the pandemic. In other words, there are those who may get the wrong message that if it is O.K. to be crowded together in the audiences of these shows then it is O.K. for their being in a crowd. Why send mix messages? Why can’t everyone get on the same sheet of music here?
I spoke with Tony, in the Channel 4 News Room. about the Rachael Ray show and he was kind enough to say he would message the General Manager, which is great. While I had him on the phone, in order to carry another message, I asked him about the Click on 4 effort to get donations to buy food for first responders and to keep restaurants in business. Just like the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, so is this effort by Click on 4. Channel 4 is spending money at food establishments, so they can place a requirement that if food is going to be prepared for them then all preparers, and people in the vicinity of the food, has to properly wear face masks, over nose and mouth, at all times. The government encourages the public to be 6 feet apart. This is not a magic number. Six feet is better than being face to face with someone, yet close enough to interact with them. The virus just does not hit six feet, or two arm lengths, and then just drops to the ground. When a cook, at a carry out facility, is preparing your food, they are one arm length away from it. These cooks and food processors are not required to wear face masks when around your food. Again, a major government screw up. Click on 4, is buying food from these food establishments, yet face masks are not required. According to Tony, at Click on 4, it is a calculated risk when you eat carry out. People do not have to eat the food. I don’t think this message was going to be passed on to Channel 4 management. One of the major obstacles in dealing with a disaster, which is becoming more apparent during this pandemic, is getting past the “gatekeepers” who can either pass on information or be responsible for the death of people.
I walked by a shop that prepared food. They had the front door open and a counter across the door entrance. On the counter, rested a couple pieces of Plexiglas bonded together so that it covered a space as wide as the doorway, but sitting off the width of the doorway a bit, and going down about 6 inches off the counter to up a little above head high. If an exhaust fan was operating in the building, then a negative air flow would exist sucking air from where the customer was standing, and the virus if present, into the food processing area. In contrast, Downtown, at Five mile and Beech-Daly Roads, also has a counter blocking the doorway, but it has a piece of Plexiglas from door frame to door frame, with plastic wrap being taped across the top and then some taped below the Plexiglas to allow movement of money and product in and out of the store. It is brilliant in its simplicity and effectiveness. At this other food store, seeing that the Plexiglas barrier was somewhat ineffective, the young lad, who seemed to be the manager, was informed that the virus was in the air and would probably most likely be breathed in, if one was going to be infected. His response was that the virus being airborne was not proven yet and that the virus was transmitted by saliva. How odd, since he was working with food at arm’s length. Even with his assessment of the virus’s transmission, without a face mask, any talking would put virus right on the food. So, understand this, any individual in his position, with his belief at this disease’s transmission, can infect how many? Tens, hundreds, thousands? In actuality, any breathing around the food, if he was sick, would put the virus on prepared food that next step would be in your family’s gut. If people are concerned, like the government is pushing people to be concerned about, the virus being on surfaces, touching these surfaces and then putting hands into mouths, then why aren’t folks concerned about having someone potentially spewing the virus on their food and then they ingest it? There is no magic taking place here. It is just critical thinking and simple reasoning. Just like during the AIDS epidemic, it wasn’t until years later that specific details were being studied and coming out about HIV. The same will be for Covid-19, so in the meantime, why take chances? Once sick you are not going to get un-sick. Whatever damage that will take place in your body will not be undone. In other words, it is better to avoid getting sick in the first place. It is amazing how mixed messages are being sent out by the government and media and few questions it. This is an in the air virus and if you are going to get it, it is most likely by breathing it in. If that is the case, the face masks and distancing are your best bets for defense against it. This means when going out into the public, where the public has been, or for people are preparing your food.
Below Photo by: Photovs Dreamstime