What Do You Know About COVID-19?

Helpful Corona Virus Facts

The corona virus is probably the most widespread topic of information currently in the media.  Misinformation is widespread as well.  Let’s look at some facts that will educate you.  Most of this information comes from the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites.

What is the corona virus?
First, it is not a living organism like germs and bacteria.

The dictionary defines a virus as:   
Noun, An ultramicroscopic (20 to 300 nm in diameter), metabolically inert, infectious agent that replicates only in the cells of living hosts, mainly bacteria, plants, and animals (including humans): composed of an RNA or DNA core, a protective protein coat, and, in more complex types, a surrounding envelope.  Plural viruses.

There are a number of strains of the corona virus.  Some affect humans and some affect animals.  COVID-19 is the disease caused by the newly mutated version of a corona virus strain.  The exact origin of this mutation is not known.  It is believed to have mutated from an animal corona virus and crossed over to humans in China in December 2019.

There are rumors the new corona virus was deliberately created and released by people.  There is no evidence to support this claim.

Viruses often mutate and change over time.  When a virus that is common in an animal such as a pig, bat or bird mutates and passes to humans, our bodies are not prepared to defend against this new virus.  This new disease is often highly contagious because we lack the necessary antibodies.  The new corona virus appears to fit this normal pattern. 

What are the symptoms of COVID 19?
COVID-19 symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, unexplained loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, and headache. COVID-19 can be severe.  In some cases, it can cause death.

If you have the symptoms, it is recommended you immediately self-isolate and call your doctor or another medical facility before going to any medical facility.  Follow their advice regarding testing and treatment.

Is all this social distance and wearing masks necessary?
The virus enters through your mouth, eyes or nose in settles in the membranes in your throat and sinus cavities.  It CANNOT go through healthy skin.

Coughing or sneezing sprays droplets up to 6 feet.  The idea behind social distancing is to keep people out of range of droplets from an infected person.  Crowds are dangerous because in a confined space a concentration of the virus can infect a greater number of people.  The more confined the space, the more concentration of the virus there can be. The more open or naturally ventilated, the less the virus can be spread from person to person.  

A mask serves two purposes:

  1. It stops an infected person from spraying droplets and
  2. Stops the person wearing a mask from inhaling infected droplets.

Infected droplets can also be picked up from surfaces.  Doorknobs, handles and frequently used items can transmit the virus to your hands.  You then infect yourself when you touch your body openings.

How do I kill it?
It is not alive for you cannot kill it.  Bactericides and antibiotics do not work on it.  It will break down on its own.  However, destroying its protective outer coating is how you get rid of it faster.

The time before the protective outer coating degrades allowing the virus to break down into a non-dangerous state varies.  It depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lies.  Here are some examples of how long the virus molecules can remain in a stable state or many types of surfaces:

  • 3 hours (fabric and porous materials)
  • 4 hours (copper and wood)
  • 24 hours (cardboard)
  • 42 hours (metal)
  • 72 hours (plastic)

This can be longer in hospitable environments like dark moist places, outside during cold weather or in air conditioned houses and cars.  Environments that are dehumidified, dry, warm and have bright sunshine can degrade it faster.

Another danger comes from the corona virus becoming airborne before it degrades.  If you’re cleaning, shaking off clothes or engaging in other activities that might stir up dust you could make the virus airborne.  The virus molecules can float in the air for up to 3 hours.

So how do I destroy its protective outer coating?

  • Washing your hands in any soap or detergent is sufficient if you use it correctly.  
    • You must rub thoroughly for 20 seconds
    • Be sure to get between your fingers, under your nails, in calluses, skin cracks and all areas of your hand.
  • Use water above 77 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Wash hands, clothes, dishes and anything possible in this moderately hot water.
  • Clean with alcohol or any alcohol mixture with a 65% concentration.  
    • Or a mix of 1 part bleach and 5 parts water

The following are cleaning methods not safe for human use:  

  • Certain wavelengths of Ultraviolet or UV light breaks down the virus protein.  
    • However, these highly energetic UV wavelengths are dangerous to people.
    • It is used bacterial disinfecting and reusing equipment.  Its effectiveness on viruses has not been conclusively investigated.
  • Oxygenated water or hydrogen peroxide helps because peroxide dissolves the virus protein.  Only it must be used in high concentrations that are not safe for human use.

What does not work?

  • Vinegar is NOT useful because it does not break down the virus’s protective outer layer of fat.
  • Using mouthwash, or drinking liquors, spirits or any consumable alcohol will NOT protect you.
  • UV tanning booths are not the correct wavelength to destroy the virus.
  • Injecting, swallowing, bathing in or rubbing onto your body bleach, disinfectants or rubbing alcohol will not protect you.
    • Effective hand sanitizers do have alcohol, but they are formulated to be safe for use on hands.

What should you do?
It is diagnosed with a laboratory test.  There is no corona virus vaccine yet.

Prevention involves frequent hand-washing, coughing into the bend of your elbow, and staying home when you are sick.

F you must go out, wear a mask or cloth face covering.  Practice social distancing.  Avoid crowds and confined spaces.  Open or naturally ventilated areas are better.  Even in open areas, continue to maintain social distancing and use a mask.

Wash your hands frequently. Like before and after touching your face, food, locks, knobs, switches, remote control, cell phone, watches, computers, desks, TV, etc. Also when using the bathroom.

All this washing can dry your skin.  Dry skin cracks allowing virus molecules to hide in these micro cracks.  Using a good moisturizer will help prevent dry skin.  Thicker creams or lotions moisturize better.

There is still a strong possibility a second or even third wave of Covid-19 could return before a vaccine is ready.  So help minimize the risk now

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