COVID CHRONICLES Day 7

I Heard It Through the Grapevine.

After sleeping for 12 hours, my wife reported today she was psychologically and emotionally “feeling more like myself.” While she’s still “feeling crappy” physically, her spirit is an important indicator. This news makes me happy (Thanks, Captain Obvious)! I have been getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. But last night it was interrupted several times. So, I’m dragging a little from that. But still symptom-free.

One of the things I’ve found writing a daily journal is this: what I think I will write about the day before almost always changes when the next day arrives. That’s just a sign of how fast things keep moving. This morning, for example, I received notes from two sources passing along “insider information” about COVID-19.

Part 1: Should I Take Ibuprofen?

The first note included a two-minute clip from a radio broadcast about the dangers of taking ibuprofen if you have been exposed to COVID-19. The information originally came from a Harvard doctor. The main claim is that ibuprofen intensifies the virus.

We heard about this when it first surfaced in France. The claim turns out to be controversial. The challenge is that information is flying so fast and so furiously that everyone is relying on small samples and anecdotal evidence that circles the globe at lightning speed.

As with everything related to this virus, our approach is this: “Better Safe Than Sorry.” My wife stopped taking ibuprofen as soon as the reports from France surfaced. I’ve taken it twice since for chronic knee pain. I will try acetaminophen next time and see how I do.

But for people with chronic pain — which now includes me, at least until I have a knee replacement and shoulder surgery — the choice can be complicated. Some people are on ibuprofen under doctor’s orders. Others have bad reactions to acetaminophen. So the advise, as always, is USE COMMON SENSE.

For those interested, here are a few links.

Part 2: Stop Spitting on Me!

The second note included a forwarded text. The text was written by Adriaan Bax, who works at NIH. I am publishing the information below with his permission. His contact information is below. I’m formatting for readability, but emphasis is his.

Normal Face-To-Face Talking Can Transmit Coronavirus, Especially from Asymptomatic Infected Persons.

Missing from all the discussions about sneezing, coughing and hand washing is the fact that normal SPEAKING generates lots of small spit droplets, too small to see by the naked eye, which contain the virus if spoken by an asymptomatic carrier, and then inhaled by one’s conversation partner. The viral titer of saliva in asymptomatic people can be massive, as high as 100,000 virus particles per milliliter according to the scientific literature, or ca 1 viroid per medium size speech droplet.

In a video endorsed by Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus (at the end of the clip), we use powerful laser technology to show that saliva droplets are generated by speech and are able to transmit the virus that causes COVID-19.

This shows that a single word can generate hundreds of these droplets, and 10 minutes of speaking spews out more saliva than a good size sneeze. The NIH is currently trying to make a more professional version of this video, but I don’t believe waiting for that for another week (or two) is a good idea.

This droplet hypothesis resolves the paradox on how the virus can be spread without symptoms and has enormous implications because it is much easier to prevent EMISSION of these droplets, i.e. from the infected person, than INHALATION, i.e. at the recipient’s end. In a follow-up video, where we speak in a horizontal direction across the plane of light, we show that even a washcloth is extremely effective at stopping emission.

If you have any ideas or advice on how to spread this important information to the public and our policy makers, health care providers, or if you have questions, please let me know. I’m desperate and this is more URGENT than anything else right now.

Please help spread the message. It will be much easier to contain this pandemic once people realize how it spreads.

Adriaan Bax
Bldg 5, room 126
NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892–0520, USA
email: bax@nih.gov

Bottom line: We should all be wearing masks or otherwise covering our mouths and nose when interacting with each other WHETHER SYMPTOMATIC OR NOT. In a quick Google search, there was a lot of discussion of coughing passing droplets. But discussion around conversation is sparse, especially between people who are asymptomatic. There still aren’t enough masks to go around. So that means taking other precautions.

Regardless, the more we learn about this virus, the clearer it becomes: There is no such things as being TOO CAREFUL.

Please help share the word with others.

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Wynn Hausser

Professional Communicator, Change Agent & Nonprofit Specialist. “COVID CHRONICLES” documents life under pandemic. Also write on sports, politics and life.