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The worldwide Coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.
Part 9.
2020-SEP-21 until now:

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This is a continuation of the previous article:

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Differentiating between COVID-19 and the flu:

As the flu season begins, it is important to be able to differentiate between the common flu and COVID-19. Some differences are that COVID causes:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. The flu usually has neither of these symptoms.

  • Long term fever, while the flu causes fever that typically lasts only one to three days.

  • Bluish lips or face. The flu does neither. 1

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How COVID-19 might spread from person to person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Back in 2020-FEB, during the very early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., the CDC published a response to the outbreak. They said that:

"Areas for additional COVID-19 investigation include:

'... studying the relative importance of various modes of transmission, including the role of droplets, aerosols, and fomites; understanding these transmission modes has major implications for infection control and prevention, including the use of personal protective equipment.' ..." Â 2

Some definitions:

  • A "droplet" is a very tiny spherical liquid object, ranging in size from what one CDC scientist called a "big goober" to one that is much smaller.

  • An "aerosol" is an abbreviation of "aero-solution." They are typically very tiny solid or liquid particles, equal or less than 1 ÎĽm (micro-meter) in diameter. This is MUCH smaller than a droplet. Some aerosols are sometimes seen in nature, in the form of fog, mist, dust, smoke, etc.

  • The term "microdroplet" is sometimes used to refer to particles intermediate in size between a droplet and an aerosol.

  • A "fomite" is an object that can be contaminated by bacteria, fungi, or viruses, when an infected person touches them. Other persons, who touch the same object later, can then pick up the contamination and become infected themselves -- particularly if they later touch their nose or an eye. Typical fomites are dishes, doorknobs, utensils, furniture surfaces, handrailings, and clothing.

The CDC later stated that COVID-19 was primarily spread when the an infected person coughs or sneezes. They stated that the virus is carried by small respiratory droplets, which typically fall to the ground within six feet due to gravity. If other people nearby wear masks, such droplets are effectively filtered out of the air by the cloth in the masks. If other people stay more than about 6 feet (2 meters) away from an infected persons they are relatively safe from becoming infected.

However, there was a growing belief among many researchers around the world that the virus also spreads embedded within "aerosols" whose diameter is typically measured as 1 micrometer or less -- orders of magnitude smaller than droplets. They exit an infected person's body when they talk, sing, cough, sneeze, or simply breath normally. They are so small that they can easily flow through most masks worn by people nearby. Also they can travel much farther than droplets. Some researchers felt that aerosols are the main method by which COVID-19 spreads.

  • On 2020-JUL-06, Lidia Morawska and Donald Milton wrote an article in an Oxford Academic Journal, titled: "It is time to address airborne transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)."Â 19 They said:

    "There is significant potential for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distances (up to several meters, or room scale), and we are advocating for the use of preventive measures to mitigate this route of airborne transmission. ... airborne transmission appears to be the only plausible explanation for several superspreading events investigated."

  • On 2020-SEP-18, on their web site, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC confirmed the belief that the virus is spread by both droplets and aerosols. 3,4 They discussed that:

    • Each time an infected person breathes out, talks, or sings, the virus can travel through the air, carried by tiny respiratory aerosols in their breath. The aerosols remain suspended in the air for a while -- perhaps travelling well beyond 6 feet. They can easily be inhaled by others who are nearby, causing others to become infected. The CDC warned that badly ventilated indoor spaces are particularly dangerous.

    • Whenever an infected person sneezes or coughs, a much larger amount of the virus is ejected into the air embedded in droplets which are much larger than aerosols. The CDC article said that the aerosols: "... can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads."Â 5

They also said that asymptomatic people who have been within six feet of a another person for over 15 minutes who was known to be newly infected should be tested. They should also self-quarantine at home for 14 days.

This was a major announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Abraar Karan, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School, responded to the article by tweeting:

"We have been saying 'wear a mask' and '6 feet apart' for months. Cloth masks are not designed to block aerosols. And 6 feet apart may be insufficient, [especially when] indoors [with] poor ventilation.

Jose-Luis Jimenez, a chemistry professor at the University of Colorado, said that the CDC article was a:

"... major change. This is a good thing, if we can reduce transmission because more people understand how it is spreading and know what to do to stop it."

Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech wrote:

"There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that aerosols are an important transmission route for COVID-19. The new wording that was published [on SEP-18 by the CDC] acknowleged that inhalation of aerosols (or microscopic droplets) is the main way that the virus spreads. CDC's recognition of airborne transmission would mean that that policies should emphasize wearing masks at all times in public buildings and ensuring good ventilation and filtration to control the pandemic."Â 6

Her posting would seem to imply that masks will effectively filter aerosols.

Webmaster's personal note:

The SEPT-15 article by the CDC made sense to me. I had previously felt secure while wearing a cloth mask whenever I was outside my home. But after reading the CDC article, I realized that aerosols containing the COVID-19 virus might be breathed out by an infected person, spread out in the air, travel right through my cloth mask, and infect me. I no longer felt secure. This motivated me to leave my home only for important tasks. Fortunately, I live in Kingston, ON, Canada -- population 137,000 -- where the number of active COVID-19 cases is typically in the single digits.

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2020-SEP-21: The CDC removed their article from their web site!!

Tim Elfrink, et al., at The Washington Post, wrote an article with a remarkable title: "CDC reverses itself and says guidelines it posted on coronavirus airborne transmission were wrong."7

A top CDC official said that the guidelines were removed because they do not "... reflect our current state of knowledge."

Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, subsequently indicated that the Friday message had been posted in error. He said:

"Unfortunately an early draft of a revision went up without any technical review." 7Â

Later, in early 2020-OCT, the CDC clarified their position, stating:

"There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than six feet away. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising."

"Under these circumstances, scientists believe that the amount of infectious smaller droplet and particles produced by the people with COVID-19 became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people. The people who were infected were in the same space during the same time or shortly after the person with COVID-19 had left."

Today’s update acknowledges the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area. ...”

[This happened in] “poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing, like singing or exercise. Such environments and activities may contribute to the buildup of virus-carrying particles."Â 18

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Spreading through contamination of surfaces:

People infected by the virus can transfer the virus to surfaces like door handles, tables, sinks, etc. Later, another person who touches the same surface can pick up the virus on their hands. If they later touch their mouth, nose, or eyes, they can easily infect themselves. However, according to the CDC's original article, this is not the main way it spreads.

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2020-SEP-22: U.S. death toll exceeds 200,000. Four vaccines are being evaluated:

A fifth of a million people in the U.S. have died from the COVID-19 virus. Jennifer Nuzzo, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University public health, called this "unfathomable" for a country with the resources of the United States. 13

This is a U.S. death rate of about 0.06%. This compares with .024% in Canada. Much of the difference may be caused by the lack of a universal health care plan in the U.S.

Johnson & Johnson announced that they are the fourth company to have begun the Phase 3 clinical trial -- the final trial. They are evaluating the vaccine on 60,000 volunteers! It might require just one injection instead of two. This would be a major advantage! Also, it does not have to be kept frozen during shipment. They expect to have tens of millions of doses ready by the end of 2020.

Tests will shortly begin also by Sanofi and Novavax. Dr. Dan Barouch, a virologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center who led the development of the technology used in Johnson & Johnson’s trial. said: "We need multiple vaccines to work. There are seven billion people in the world, and no single vaccine supplier will be able to manufacture at that scale."Â 14

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2020-SEP-22: Governor of Missouri tested positive for the Coronavirus:

Governor Mike Parson(R) has often ignored personal protection against the pandemic and has occasionally attended large events while not wearing a mask. He tested positive for the coronavirus on SEP-23.

His wive, Theresa Parson, had noticed mild symptoms, including a cough and nasal congestion. She took a nasal test which came back positive. This was confirmed with a later nasal swab test.

He said:

"I want everybody to know that myself and the first lady are both fine. Right now I feel fine. No symptoms of any kind. But right now we just have to take the quarantine procedures in place."

He cancelled several events that had been scheduled for later in the week. 15

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2020-OCT-03: Mild cases of COVID-19:

Caroline Bologna wrote an excellent article titled:

"What It Means When Doctors Say Coronavirus Symptoms Are Often 'Mild.' Here's to know about mild cases of COVID-19, including how long you're contagious and what symptoms to expect."

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2020-OCT-05: President Trump is sickened by the COVID-19 virus:

President Trump, (R) 74, experienced a high fever on Friday, OCT-02, was given supplemental oxygen for about an hour, and was hospitalized. He received the first of five daily doses of remdesivir, which had received emergency use authorizaton from the FDA. He also received an experimental antibody cocktal from drugmaker Regeneron.

On OCT-03, he again received supplemental oxygen. There were signs that his lungs were damaged by the virus. Doctors gave a restricted medical briefing which did not reveal the full picture of his illness.

He staged a motorcade drive-by outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre and was criticized by some medical experts who noted that he had endangered the health of the Secret Service agents who were in the vehicle with him. The vehicle is designed to prevent outside air from entering the car, and this concentrates virus particles that are inside the car.

On OCT-04, he received a dose of the steriod dexamethasone which has been shown to help patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden (D) has repeatedly tested negative for the virus.

Trump's condition continued to improve on OCT-04. He tweeted on OCT-05 that he expected to be discharged from hospital on OCT-05 at 6:30 PM.. 17

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2020-OCT-05: CDC restored its September website article with new content:

On 2020-OCT-05, the CDC finally clarified its understanding of how COVID-19 is spread. They believe that the main mechanism is by large respiratory droplets that are spread whenever a person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes.

The CDC stated that:

"There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than six feet away. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising."

“Under these circumstances, scientists believe that the amount of infectious smaller droplet and particles produced by the people with COVID-19 became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people. The people who were infected were in the same space during the same time or shortly after the person with COVID-19 had left."

Lena Sun and Ben Guarino, writing for the Washington Post said:

"There have been several well-documented cases in which the coronavirus spread rapidly and widely in an enclosed or indoor environment â€" a restaurant in Guangzhou, China; a bus traveling in China’s Zhejiang province; a call center in Seoul; and a church choir in Washington state."

Most scientists believe that keeping six feet or two meters away from other people is sufficient to prevent infection from droplets spread by infected persons. However, infected persons also can also spread by aerosols, which are a form of microscopic droplets. They are very tiny and able to travel great distances, floating in the air as a vapor, and infecting a whole room. A singer in Washington State during 2020-MAR spread the virus up to 45 feet away and infected more than 50 people!"

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Webmaster's comment:

I suspect that there are errors in the following list. I ran out of time to correct it and will get to it ASAP:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyper links are not necessarily still active today:

  1. Adam Feuerstein, "Inexpensive steroids reduce deaths of hospitalized Covid-19 patients, WHO analysis confirms," Stat News, 2020-SEP-02, at: https://www.statnews.com/
  2. Dan Evon, "Was Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Responsible for 250K Coronavirus Cases?," Snopes, 2020-SEP-10, at: https://www.snopes.com/
  3. Katie Camero, "Sturgis biker rally adds 267,000 COVID cases and $12.2B in health costs, report says," Kansas City Star, 2020-SEP-08, at: https://www.kansascity.com/
  4. Henrik Pettersson, "Tracking coronavirus’ global spread," CNN, 2020-SEP-11, at: https://www.cnn.com/
  5. Anthony Murdoch, "COVID-19 deaths plummet to zero for the first time since spring in Canada," Life Site News, 2020-SEP-16, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/
  6. "How can you tell the difference between COVID-19 and the season flu? What are the symptoms that differentiate them?," Quora, 2020-MAR-13, at: https://www.quora.com/
  7. "Today’s coronavirus news: CDC says coronavirus spreads mainly in the air, through respiratory aerosols and droplets ..." Toronto Star, 2020-SEP-21, at: https://www.thestar.com/
  8. Tim Elfrink, "CDC reverses itself and says guidelines it posted on coronavirus airborne transmission were wrong," Washington Post, at: https://www.msn.com
  9. "After uproar, CDC changes guidance on coronavirus testing," Advisory Board, 2020-SEP-21, at: https://www.advisory.com/
  10. Laurel Wamsley, "CDC Publishes â€" Then Withdraws â€" Guidance On Aerosol Spread Of Coronavirus," KPCC National Public Radio at: https://www.scpr.org/news/
  11. Thomson Reuters, "CDC removes warning on airborne spread of COVID-19," Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC), 2020-SEP-21, at: https://www.cbc.ca/
  12. Daniel B. Jernigan, MD, CDC COVID-19 Response Team, "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report," CDC, 2020-FEB-25, at: https://www.cdc.gov/
  13. "The COVID-19 brief," CTV News, 2020-SEP-23, via the Mid-Week Catchup Email.
  14. "Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccine Advances, Sparking Optimism in Race," New York Times, 2020-SEP-23, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
  15. David Liev & Jim Salter, "Missouri governor, opponent of mandatory masks, has COVID-19," ABC News, 2020-SEP-23, at: https://abcnews.go.com/
  16. Laura King & Chris Megerian, "Trump's illness appars more serious," Los Angeles Times, 2020-OCT-04, at:latimes.com
  17. John Wagner, et al., "Election live updates: Trump tweets that he’s leaving hospital today," The Washington Post, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  18. Lena H. Sun & Ben Guarino, "CDC says airborne transmission plays a role in coronavirus spread in a long-awaited update after a website error last month," The Washington Post, 2020-OCT-05, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  19. Lidia Morawska and Donald Milton, "It Is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)," Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2020-JUL-06, at: https://academic.oup.com/

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Copyright © 2020 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolernace
Latest update: 2020-
OCT-08
Author: B.A. Robinson

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