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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/11/2020 in all areas

  1. 5 points
    @dtcamero i use N95 at work. each type has a different fitting characteristic and you need to do a test with it on to check if it works. I can wear two types and another one I failed. Personally, given the difficulty of fitting and the lower risk areas of the public, I don’t think n95 is of great benefit for ordinary people. As to normally wearing a surgical mask, I agree filtration is not great. However, we could think out of the box a little more: - we touch our face perhaps less with a mask on - we shake hands less if we have a mask on - we don’t automatically kiss in greeting - people will stand further away from someone wearing a mask. - reminds us to wash hands more frequently - we stop to chat less often All of these actions could actually reduce transmission .... masks don’t filter too much viral material in itself but they do change our behaviour to reducing potential contact with infectious material. as far as I am aware, there’s no benefit of wearing a mask (or they never looked at the things I described), but also, there is no evidence of harm. not sure if I wrote it here before but the flu season this year in HK has been the shortest in ages.
  2. 3 points
    I did the same in the US on a train. I was the only one on the train with a mask. However, a woman sitting next to me on the trained leaned away the whole time. When I went to get off the train, someone asked if I was infected or they were. This said, wearing a mask isn't an option for most Americans because they are unavailable. Even simple masks sold in paint stores have been bought out. N95s were invented by the West and the right design for a person can fit their Western or Asian face. At US companies, they "fit test you" and also do a medical evaluation before allowing you to use one (respirators impact blood pressure and respiration, so we're tested to see if we're healthy enough to use one) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1858664. With both flu and with this virus, we don't know the relative importance of inhaled versus the risk from touching your mouth, nose, & eyes. When this pandemic began, I told friends about the fact that medical masks are designed to protect others from your infection, whereas an N95 is designed to protect you. However, this credible study from the J. of the Amer Med Assoc suggests these masks provide similar protection in health care situations from the flu: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2749214 (even after reading this, I still would use an N95 if available) It may be that small droplets are relatively rare and that a medical mask protects you by keeping you from touching yourself and by stopping large droplets. Reducing rates of infection will flatten out the rate of new infections and this reduces the likelihood of overwhelming health care. If controls are really good, the r-value will be pushed below 1 and the pandemic will stop. The level of control is based on the cumulative result of everything that is done. China is controlling the risk and is doing so thru extensive use of masks. Friends in China and my company's sites there are giving employees 1 or 2 masks/day. This is much more contagious than the flu, so hand washing is likely not enough. Eventually, I expect most of the rest of the world will move to using masks because just having everyone stay home isn't an economically viable approach.
  3. 3 points
    Thankfully both my wife and I can work remotely, so we've basically stayed at home and only been out a few times since we got back from isolation. We went into central London two days ago and took the tube in. we both wore facemasks and brought soap with us. We took the subway for a few stops, which we regretted immediately as it was absolutely rammed and no facemasks anywhere. Im not saying facemasks are a must at all, but youd expect people to at least make some airs to show care is being taken. but its still business as usual here. Meanwhile italy is exploding with new cases right now, with some people saying its a more agressive form of the virus there. Its like noones doing anything preventative (besides buying toilet paper in bulk…) because it would be 'emabarassing' or just a hassle. so now we're just sitting here waiting for quarantine round two, uk edition…
  4. 3 points
    This will be a problem in many countries, i.e., overloaded medical services. Even during a non-pandemic, I had wait over 5 1/2 hours to be admitted to a US emergency room. They were so full, they ended up putting me in the hallway. This was in a suburban reasonably well-off area in the US. In the morning, I've been listening to coronavirus updates from RTE Radio in Ireland. The head of the Irish nursing association noted that the entire country has only 250 isolation units and these are currently filled with people who have drug resistant bacteria. They wouldn't kick them out of the room to handle flu cases. It poses a real problem. A recent podcast mentioned one good idea: when going to see a Doctor, patients wait in their cars until called. That way they don't sit in the waiting room, infecting others or being infected by them. I wish the US would follow the lead of South Korea and let people be tested for the virus while sitting in their car. It's such a smart, efficient thing to do.
  5. 3 points
    What you say is mainly correct, and the situation in Italy is not easy at the moment. The interview is with a anesthetist working in one of the hospitals in Northern Italy closest to a cluster of infections and therefore one of those that have been hit the worst. As far as I understand, roughly 10% of those who fall sick need intensive care, and obviously there is a shortage (note, healthcare in Italy is public and free). The doctor says that they cannot treat everybody and that "we are not in a position to try and work miracles". As an example he mentions that, if someone older than 80 with a serious respiratory condition goes to the hospital chances are that they will not try to save him, because the probability for him to recover are extremely low and they don't have enough resources to try the impossible. Doctors are working multiple shifts round the clock and they have to make these choices, and it is taking a toll on them. As a consequence the health system as a whole is under strain and there are delays everywhere. He then goes on saying that the best prevention against being infected is just to stay home, and he urges people not to go out. He says that he still sees too many people walking on the streets. He mentions in passing that he agrees with the measures taken by the government, although possibly it would've been better if they did so a week or so earlier. I'm getting news from my family and friends who all live in Lombardia (the epicenter of the infection): the whole region is being completely locked down for at least 14 days with only the most critical services remaining operative. The feeling I get at the moment is nervousness and fear, but not panic. People are really worried that shutting down shops and commercial activities will be economically unsustainable, many small companies will probably go belly up. The country has been taken by surprise for sure, but the government seems to be reacting better than expected. Let's hope for the best.
  6. 2 points
    I think the UK has to balance things very carefully. Having said that I also heard that one course of action considered was just to let the virus run its course, use crisis control to deal with things as they come and when the virus has run its course just get on with things. The thinking was this would be cheaper. Thankfully this idea seems to have been dismissed. The budget was today with lots of coronavirus concessions and benefits. Mostly I think to encourage people to self isolate, and not encourage businesses to stay open just to pay bills. Things round here seem pretty much normal except for the fact the shops are sold out of the oddest combination of things, empty shelves of toilet paper, kitchen roll, baked beans, vegetable oil, bread and eggs. Mask wearing has increased but only amongst our chinese student population, not seen anyone else wearing one. Only real help they offer is that it stops you touching your mouth and nose but no real help against airborne virus as their effectiveness wears off after a couple hours of breathing through it unless you have something more sophisticated than just a surgical mask. I am due to go to Southampton university hospital tomorrow for a pre assessment for a procedure to shock my heart back into regular rhythm on Friday. The high dependency unit has been closed as a member of staff has been confirmed with the virus, the unit will be shut for 2 weeks. I am more concerned about the virus than the procedure mainly becuase I am in the high risk category - 62 years old with heart and lung problems. I realise they need to keep things going at the hospital but it seems to me any non urgent procedures should be cancelled. I feel as if I am walking into the lion's den. It has already been cancelled once, so I think it might be again, we will see. I would be quite happy to self isolate, pretty much do that anyway, only go out to buy food and other supplies. As we live above the shop, a walk down the stairs is my commute to work. We would close the shop and claim the new benefits the government has offered for self employed people. Apart from a medical emergency for me or my OH or the cats, it would be 2 weeks to catch up on chinese lessons, my crafts and sorting the garden. As spring is arriving they are saying this will help things, not sure why except for the same reason we have a flu seasons becuase we open doors and windows and don't congregate indoors in airtight places in the warmer weather. Let's hope this is the case and things improve.
  7. 2 points
    Same in Germany. We are in the center of Munich, and host large numbers of people, participants and clients, in our offices on a regular evening like yesterday. Don't think we'd wipe the door handles with sanitizer or anything! Or that the toilet is cleaned more often than once a day. Nothing. Ironically, this is the type of middle class people who can't sleep at night for fear of air pollution by Diesel cars, and of artificial ingredients in their food.
  8. 2 points
    Thanks for asking. I have purchased a plane ticket back to Kunming for the middle of April. It's a fare category that allows changes of date with no penalty. I've spoken with my Kunming landlord to let her know the timing of my intended arrival. My apartment is now sitting there unoccupied, just storing my stuff. I like living in Kunming and very much hope to return. However, the arrangements are all subject to change and I will need to remain flexible. It would be ironic if the US, currently kind of lackadaisacal and casual about the epidemic as far as I can tell, gets hit hard in the next month and becomes the new "hot spot." In that case I might be tossed into quarantine on arrival because I am coming from such a dangerous place!
  9. 1 point
    Thank you so much for this. The value of masks is really beyond the filtration. As I am writing this, I stopped to think and touched my mouth with my hand. This would not happen if I wore a mask. It is also not true that only China insists on it. Taiwan also encourages people to wear masks in a crowded environment.
  10. 1 point
    France seized all face masks and the production of them. It seems not everyone in the West agrees they are so useless https://twitter.com/EmmanuelMacron/status/1234847500768509956
  11. 1 point
    i think this is an interesting aspect of the different approaches being taken to the virus by china and AFAIK every other country. the chinese gov't and most ordinary people all put huge emphasis on the facemask, more than anything else, and talk about facemasks constantly as if they are the literal barrier between people and viruses. in AFAIK every other country experts are going out of their way to emphasize hand-washing and de-emphasize facemasks. western experts' logic IIRC is that the virus is carried in 'droplets', which are water but less like rain and more like a cloud, and are not something that can be filtered at all using a surgical mask (imagine trying to walk through a cloud wearing a paper mask and not breathe in the cloud...) The only masks that are effective are N95 masks, which most chinese don't have, and even those are usually worn incorrectly by the public. They must be correctly custom-fitted to achieve a complete seal before being effective. I have yet to hear a chinese health expert's rebuttal to this argument, maybe one exists. so about that seal. the N95 mask usually has a metal bar at the top to wrap around your nose and close off airflow on either side of the nosebridge. this is somewhat effective but not great. I think the reality is that if you have a big nose with a high arch, you're kinda screwed here. if you have a mask on, your breath should be noticeably more difficult... if you are able to suck in air from either side of your nose, you are effectively not wearing a mask. again imagine walking through a cloud with that mask on... you are still breathing in the cloud. so then what to draw from this... 1. not to talk too much about different ethnicities' facial characteristics, but being that asian faces have flatter noses, I could imagine N95 facemasks being more effective there than in say western countries where people have much higher noses. having a low profile nose would give you a better shot of creating the required seal to effectively prevent transmission, assuming you're wearing an N95 mask. having a very high nose means that only the 3M brand N95 mask will maybe work for you... many other N95 masks won't fit. 2. perhaps the chinese gov't is really pushing the surgical paper masks in regards to saliva, and not airborne droplets... like the clear plastic mask worn by restaurant employees. A uniquely chinese solution to the chinese problem of people shouting (and hurling saliva) and otherwise spitting in public, and therefore relevant in china more than other countries. i love china but this could be a bad habit nationally that has epidemiological consequences. 3. perhaps the chinese gov't is insisting on masks (even ineffective ones) for 形式主义, to give people the impression they are controlling the situation, and avoid panic, similar to spraying down the streets with disinfectant. 4. alternately perhaps the west, which doesn't stock many facemasks in normal times for cultural reasons, is de-emphasizing any facemask-wearing (even correctly wearing N95s) in order to stop panic-buying and protect health professionals' ability to obtain them. 5. regardless i think it's kinda strange to place so much emphasis on facemasks when, even if they are effective at all, frequent handwashing is a much more effective means of preventing transmission. many chinese I've met outside china seem to think both sides are pretty extreme and the appropriate reaction is somewhere in the middle.
  12. 1 point
    this is the right balance. Hopefully other countries are learning... but some are not.... The trouble here is when you wait for evidence, the decision based on that evidence is seven days too late.
  13. 1 point
    "I have to say, i think it's possible China will come out of this well." This of course is the Chinese propaganda spin. It's All the Foreigners' Fault Conveniently forgetting how the entire world ended up in this disaster after a Wuhan doctor was charged by police in December with "spreading false rumours" after he tried to alert colleagues of the risk posed by the new virus. And let us not forget that all those restrictions on news dissemination make knowing the true situation in China impossible. The Great Leap Forward was hailed as quite a success in its time, remember.
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