“How many times have I told you to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze!” a statement, not a question, of reasoning Mom would make as she scolded her first born whenever I violated one of the rules of common courtesy and etiquette. My sister got a cross look. I was the one who got whacked, probably the reason for the flat spot on the back of my head.
We hear a lot about courtesy these days, especially related to wearing face covers so we don’t infect others with what ever little buggies we might harbor on and in our persons. Some attempt “virtue shaming” those who refuse to mask up while others insist we “look at the science” and still others look to use the force of a government gun to enforce their demands… with or without benefit of science.
So let’s look at some science.
Warning: Algebra Alert!
I’ve been interested in science related stuff, stuff is good junk, since early childhood. The way and why things work has always been intriguing. Biology was sort of a drag, especially when none of the girls I knew wanted to play doctor, but that left more time for the really cool stuff like geology, astronomy, chemistry and the BigDaddy of them all, physics… Sir Isaac’s, not Granny’s.
Biology, and its daughter epidemiology, isn’t my bag. Measurement, control, data analysis, accuracy, repeatability, development of facts into a hypothesis, design of experiments to prove a concept or hypothesis, documentation of experimental results, development of experimental data into consistent manufacturing processes and procedures... are. The process is the same whether it’s to prove bovine fluffies cause global warming, the potential energy in joules (pronounced jewels, like family) available from a given molar quantity of carbon dioxide at a specific pressure and temperature, the phase loss improvement using amorphous versus hot rolled silicon steel for the core material of an electric power transformer… or the effectiveness of using facial coverings to eliminate transmission of disease.
That’s the reason it’s so easy calling boo-hah when most politicians speak. They rarely cite facts, only blather to confuse an issue.
And facts instead of blather is the reason I find it refreshing when outsiders like President Trump and Dr. Manny Sethi stand up to be counted as they have.
Almost 60 years ago I was taught each of our bodies has its own system for fighting off intruders we call germs, bugs, viruses, bacteria, and microbes. The effectiveness of protection depends upon the individual, strength of his or her system, and what other battles may be raging either internally or externally. Basically, when a bug or other foreign object invades our body a call goes out to its personal version of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard to go on the attack. We call these antibodies. As the antibodies are doing battle there’ll be one come swaggering up, wend his way through the crowd to the invader and... BAM! He taikoocharoochies the invader and it’s DRT… dead, right there. That’s the Marine antibody. After his work is done he grabs a pretty girl antibody, they drift off to a quiet place, get married and make little baby Marine antibodies until their skills are required again, by which time there are many more of them. That’s how our protective, or immune, systems operate and multiply to fend off invasions of other, similar, foreign invaders.
That works for one invader. It generally works for several simultaneously. E-coli, for example, is rather harmless when there are only a few bacteria evading our perimeter defenses. They’re summarily dispatched. When there are more than our defense system can easily accommodate we become ill, because so many of our body’s resources are being dedicated to the battle of the buggies. The same holds true for any other invading force and when resources are dispatched elsewhere, fighting off another disease for example, it requires fewer invaders to cause our bodies to exhibit symptoms of illness.
Now for some science, and algebra… including scientific notation.
The average human eye, for those in their 20s with good vision... who don’t need cheaters, can differentiate or resolve about 1/1,000th of an inch at normal reading distances. I learned this in metrology school, not biology class. The most common buggies that cause disease and illness are so small we cannot see them without the aid of a microscope with several hundred times magnification. 1/1,000th of an inch equates to 0.00254 millimeters (mm), 2.54 micrometers (um or microns), or 2,540 nanometers (nm). One nanometer is 1/1,000,000,000th (1 billionth, with a B, or 1.0E-9) of a meter, and a meter is, in round numbers, 39.3701 inches. This sort of makes eensy and weensy look humongous doesn’t it.
1.0 micron is 1/1,000,000th (1.0 millionth, with an M, 1.0E-6) of a meter. Eensy and weensy still looking pretty big.
We know a microbe, germ, cannot be seen without a high magnification microscope. We’re also told, those of us who’ve bothered to research, a virus isn’t even that big. It is, in fact, so small it must be viewed with even spiffier instruments like scanning electron microscopes. We’re told a virus is so small it cannot quite be considered a living organism. They have genes and can replicate, but have no cell structure so are considered to exist on the edge of being living organisms. Virus particles are so small they can pass through a ceramic laboratory filter, typical particles ranging in physical size from 50nm up to 200nm. To put this in perspective, a virus particle is about the same size as the wavelength of mid to upper band ultraviolet light, which is itself on the low end of what we call ionizing radiation.
In my hand there’s a long, hard hunk of stainless steel I dug out of the junk drawer, the drawer we keep cool stuff in that isn’t needed every day but we ought to have around to tinker with or prove a concept. This gizwidget is something we use to filter yuck and crud out of gases, water, or light oil. We also use it as a “snubber,” something to average out fluctuations, level the curve if you will, in a pressurized fluid. This particular model is rated to block particles larger than 25 microns and the element is about 1/4 inch in diameter by 1/8 inch thick. A straight, unobstructed 1/4 inch tube shows little resistance when one blows into the end of it. It takes a pretty good set of pipes to blow air through this baby… a 25 micron filter, for particles on the order of 125 to 600 times larger than a virus particle.
With this in mind, don’t we have to call boo-hah when someone claims a hunk of cloth covering a person’s mouth and nose, a material that will easily pass cigarette smoke, is going to protect from the spread of virus particles? You can kid a kidder. Don’t ever try to snow the snowman.
But let’s look at some other science, shall we?
We’re told not to handle materials such as bromine, benzene, toluene, methanol, isopropanol, arsenic, lead, mercury, and their various compounds, without protective clothing. Why? They’re toxic, and can be absorbed through our skin. What else do they have in common? Their basic particles are all about the same size or larger than virus particles, but can still be absorbed through our skin without benefit of a wound to assist their invasion.
It’s long been known alcohol is only marginally effective in killing germs, and anything with 100 percent efficiency will also do what? That’s correct, kill the human host. We’re being told to stock up on alcohol based hand sanitizers, with over 100 brands now on a do not buy list due to their toxicity. It wasn’t too many years ago, maybe 10, Consumer Reports did a study and found hand sanitizers are generally ineffective. It’s yet to be shown that alcohol is truly effective killing a virus, any virus. Early on we were told that except for chlorinated bleach based antiseptic cleaners, such products were totally ineffective for killing the CoVD virus. Now we’re supposed to believe an alcohol based product will be effective, after being told Lysol is completely ineffective six months ago. Somebody’s trying to lay a snowjob on Frosty again, trying to make us believe they’re impo’tent when in fact they’re mentally impotent.
We’re told to mask up to protect ourselves and others from dispersion of body fluids by micro-spray from someone coughing or sneezing. Really? A cloth mask still allows CO2, nitrogen compounds, methane, water vapor and other gases that drive greenies nuts to pass through them. We’re told to be wary of body fluids as these are significant transmission vectors of CoVD and other little buggies. News flash: we don’t need to be swapping spit in the back seat at a drive-in movie or doing, um, well, uh, you know, the thing, IT, to be exchanging body fluids. Men sweat. Women perspire. Each has sweat/perspiration glands on every millimeter of their bodies and each one is secreting fluid every second of every minute 24/7/365.25. Every time we get near some object, touch or breathe on it, there’s a possibility of transferring body fluids or organic particulate to it. Consider the additional vector intermediaries of flies, skeeters, grasshoppers, la cucarachas, air conditioning, and it’s easy to see the multitude of exposure sources to the buggies in this world.
Earlier this year we had three puppies dumped off on the front porch, itty bitty little puppies. While trying to find out if they’d wandered off from their mom, and before I could get them to the Vet, they contracted Parvo. Anyone who’s ever gone through a bout with Parvo understands how truly nasty that stuff is. We lost one but were able to help the other two fight through it with a great deal of assistance from Dr. Riddle and his assistant, Elizabeth, down at RIVER. Elizabeth looked cuter in hers, but both had to dress from their tippy-toes to the top of their heads in a hazmat suit, including a pan of Purex water outside the door they had to swish their booties in on the way into or out of the exam room. This is the only way to come anywhere close to preventing the spread of a contagion. But we’re told a cloth mask will save our society, no, the world, from CoVD... when Sweden shut nothing down and has an infection rate lower than any other nation in the world.
If I never have a puppy die in my lap again it’ll be too soon.
Vector is a term coming to us from algebra. It represents a quantity that has both magnitude and direction. Are those who’re laying this snowjob on our society, our culture, able to present magnitude and direction of the germ sources of this purported pandemic? I submit they’re merely WAGging it, not even SWAGging it. A SWAG is a Scientific Wild Guess. There’s no science, or algebra, behind what we’re being told, even by supposed experts in their fields.
We’re told we, citizens of this, the greatest nation ever to grace the face of Planet Terra, these United States of America, have never faced a pandemic such as this CoVD virus. Au contraire. We Boomers have faced down polio, the vaccine wasn’t available until after I started school, the Asiatic flu, the Hong Kong flu, annual waves of influenza, SARS, Legionnaires’ Disease, H1N1, to name but a few… and smiled back. Sergeant Major Taylor was a formidable looking dude with veins popping out on his neck and temples while calmly explaining he’d ensure a promotion from Sergeant to Private if I caught the flu after refusing to be inoculated with the rest of the squadron back in 1972. And then there was the year I thought I was coming down with the swine flu but a friend’s wife set me straight, explained I was only half right.
But we’re told we have to shut down our economy, our society, by people who have a vested interest in the shut-down… and nothing to lose. This Dr. Fauci cat is particularly interesting to watch, almost smiling while telling us to hide out, mask up, and shut our businesses down but he stammers, stutters, backtracks and looks like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar when challenged by folks with the authority to take him to task.
People’s lives and businesses have been destroyed by people, those who are nothing more than hired help of We the Peeps, who’ve lost nothing, will lose nothing, while instilling a sense of fear in citizens. They tell us to look at the science, but hide real science while muzzling real scientists and doctors who speak up in opposition. Citizens who’ve spent decades building better lives for themselves and their families without the assistance of government, in fact despite the government, have been, and are, being destroyed so little people with Napoleonic Complexes can feel powerful.
Gunny Ponder saved my stripes with his magic flu cure-all back then and for decades I was truthfully able to say “Ain’t had the flu since ‘72.” But it could equally have been attributed to following Granny’s advice. Keep a distance from people known to be ill. Wash hands frequently, especially before eating and after handling things that might have germs on them… grease and oil while working on a machine don’t count as they have their own antiseptic properties. “Blow your nose. Don’t snort that stuff back in and swaller it!” Then wash your hands. “When you cough, spit out the phlegm (in an appropriate manner). Don’t swaller it!” It’s as easy as that.
But for those who feel more comfortable masking up and shutting down, ignoring real science while believing the PT Barnums, when seeing me and my ilk wandering around with no face masks please feel free to squeal “Eew… he’s got cooties!” and run away.
Hot chicks have been doing that since I was five years old anyway...
Royce Burrage, Jr.