Political reasons probably account for why the Journal of the American Medical Association loves to print junk science when it comes to guns. But when it comes to real medicine, they have some relevant and scientifically sound content.
So, reading their very recent (as in last Thursday, March 26th) story about Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions should leave most folks “concerned.” And it should terrify health care workers (HCW).
In a nutshell, social distancing of six feet isn’t nearly enough. Especially when someone with the Wubonic Plague sneezes without a mask to catch most of the aerosolized particles expelled.
Check this out:
Owing to the forward momentum of the cloud, pathogen-bearing droplets are propelled much farther than if they were emitted in isolation without a turbulent puff cloud trapping and carrying them forward. Given various combinations of an individual patient’s physiology and environmental conditions, such as humidity and temperature, the gas cloud and its payload of pathogen-bearing droplets of all sizes can travel 23 to 27 feet (7-8 m).3,4
A 2020 report from China demonstrated that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus particles could be found in the ventilation systems in hospital rooms of patients with COVID-19.5 Finding virus particles in these systems is more consistent with the turbulent gas cloud hypothesis of disease transmission than the dichotomous model because it explains how viable virus particles can travel long distances from patients.
And the hits continue…
In the latest World Health Organization recommendations for COVID-19, health care personnel and other staff are advised to maintain a 3-foot (1-m)6 distance away from a person showing symptoms of disease, such as coughing and sneezing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a 6-foot (2-m) separation.7,8 However, these distances are based on estimates of range that have not considered the possible presence of a high-momentum cloud carrying the droplets long distances. Given the turbulent puff cloud dynamic model, recommendations for separations of 3 to 6 feet (1-2 m) may underestimate the distance, timescale, and persistence over which the cloud and its pathogenic payload travel, thus generating an underappreciated potential exposure range for a health care worker. For these and other reasons, wearing of appropriate personal protection equipment is vitally important for health care workers caring for patients who may be infected, even if they are farther than 6 feet away from a patient.
Back to yesterday’s post about health care workers at the public testing facility in McLean County, IL.
She’s toast (along with her family) if someone infected sneezes, especially given the windy day. She’s wearing absolutely no eye protection and the virus particles will remain “live” in hair and on clothing for days…
While the Chinese flu isn’t fatal for most younger folks, who wants to take that chance? And then there’s the whole issue of sterility.
The bottom line: Avoiding infection is a lot like carrying a gun for self-defense. The best way to win a gunfight is not to show up.
The best way to avoid infection from the Wuhan flu is to avoid contact with anyone who might be infected.
And if you can’t help but go out, wear your properly fitting N95 if you’re ANYWHERE around people showing symptoms (sneezing, coughing) of illness. Wear gloves. And wear a mask, goggles or face shield to keep particles out of your eyes.
If you’re a health care worker, you should have a mask on anytime you’re anywhere near patients – even if they are across the room or in the next room. Remember, this stuff gets into ventilation systems too.
Hospitals are the last place healthy people want to hang out right now.