COVID-19, Another Week, Another Surprise! Hold on to Your Masks!Randy Mitchell
COVID-19 is one complex virus, each week we learn something new about COVID-19. Usually, the surprise is another thing that adds to the difficulty in dealing with this Pandemic. As you know by now, the CDC is recommending that everyone, whether they have symptoms or not, cover their face with a mask or cloth covering whenever social distancing is difficult. This is not to say that you should wear a mask wherever you go, but to wear one in places where people congregate out of necessity, such as grocery stores and public transportation where staying six feet apart is difficult, if not impossible. COVID-19 is spread by air AND contact, and from an infected person by exhalation, speaking, and sneezing. Sneezing can be like a huge missile attack, as the many droplets that are part of the sneeze, can travel about 12 feet with a starting velocity of 100 miles per hour! Coughing is not much better with a starting velocity of 50 miles per hour and droplets traveling up to 9 feet. To make matters worse, the tiniest of these droplets “hang” in the air, floating there for up to three hours waiting to be inhaled or land on a surface!
A study of the 3,711 passengers on the Diamond Princess has revealed that approximately one in five COVID-19 infected people on the cruise ship NEVER developed symptoms of infection! The true proportion of people who never develop symptoms could actually be more like one third of the general population who are typically younger and healthier than the average cruise ship passengers.
These “silent carriers” are not coughing or sneezing, so how are they spreading the virus? One way is by contact, people, on the average, touch their faces every two and one half minutes! Contact can mean that the infected person touches his face, and then touches something else, depositing virus particles on that surface (car door, doorknob, money, ATM, etc.) where they can remain infectious for several hours to seven days. The “exponential chain of infection” continues to grow when another person touches that surface, breathes common air, and becomes infected as well. That person won’t show signs of infection for one to three days AFTER they begin to shed infectious viral particles as well….you can see where I’m going with this and why this virus has infected so many people in a short period of time!
The reason we have to wear face masks when we are out and about is primarily to protect other people when we sneeze, cough, and breathe. The mask acts as a simple barrier to stop the large droplets, which we know can travel the estimated 9-12 feet noted above. Masks can secondarily decrease the viral particles that the wearer can inhale by acting as a barrier to direct inhalation of the virus particles. Masks are not foolproof, the smaller the filter size of the mask and the fewer “gaps” there are between the skin and mask make for a better chance of the mask filtering viral particles out, keeping them from entering the wearer’s respiratory system. The average person DOES NOT need an N95 Mask or Respirator and SHOULD NOT use one. These masks are for use by health professionals who are in very close contact with their infected patients for long periods of time and need the protection that a high filtration mask can give them against viral infection.
Masks are a “part of the plan” of preventing the rapid spread of this virus and keep the number of infections to a rate that can be better handled by our health care system, which is reeling under the rapid spread of this virus.
Other ways to keep from becoming infected include:
- When you are alone outside or inside your home, you are very unlikely to need a mask to avoid infection.
- Social Distancing, staying away from or out of tight spaces, small poorly ventilated areas, and areas where many people are congregated will also help to decrease the chances that you will become infected.
- Wash your hands with soap frequently.
- Clean surfaces and countertops that are exposed frequently.
- Don’t touch your face, as your face has the easiest accessibility to the respiratory system, which is where the COVID-19 commences infection.
- Use common sense when you are going to be in relatively close proximity to people, and always wear a mask.
- Stay at least six feet away from others with no bodily contact.
- Take care of your errand in areas where social distancing is difficult or impossible as quickly as you can.
- If someone isn’t wearing a mask and sneezes or coughs near you, get at least 20 feet away from them quickly.
These are difficult times, please try to use the above information to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. We’re all in this together, and responsible behavior is very important! Recognize that many of the changes in behavior and hygiene that we are now following will likely become parts of “the new NORMAL” when the crisis phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic ends. Having good cleanliness habits and the materials that we may need in stock for the future is all part of “being prepared”. V Technical Textiles, Inc. is a supplier of some of the following supplies that can help you be prepared such as Silverell® Face Masks, Silverell® Gloves, and Silver EnviroWipe Hand Sanitizers for your barrier and protective care needs!
V Technical Textiles, Inc.