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HAND WASHING IS NOT GOING TO PREVENT THE PANDEMIC

March 13, 2020

UPDATE: all my recent posts are out of date and inadequate, the most recent with an update to reflect the latest is:
https://meggsreport.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/avoid-coughing-to-save-lives-covid-19/
This is a necessary result of the urgency of giving out better information as it arrived.

Original article:

HAND WASHING IS NOT GOING TO PREVENT THE PANDEMIC.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) makes clear that the novel corona virus (COVID-19) is transmitted “mainly from person-to-person…through respiratory droplets when somebody coughs or sneezes.” (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html)

In addition a recently submitted paper (March 8, 2020) from Wuhan found COVID-19 virus in the air in hospitals. (Source: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.08.982637v1). We already known flu virus is found in the air.

Yet the world is being told to wash its hands and rarely told the importance of covering their cough and of avoiding areas where people are or have been coughing.

What’s more it’s possible that the virus is not passed by hand-to-face contact, possibly making the widespread fear of touching the material world an unnecessary limitation on movement and action, an unnecessary stressor at a time that we need our bodies’ defenses to be optimal.

If anyone can demonstrate any evidence that the virus passes by hand to face contact and can explain how it then arrives in the deep lung please do. Until then it appears the hand washing mania is a dangerous misinformation which imparts a false sense of security (and misplaced stress and fear) on top of the failure of leadership, from Berkeley to the White House, to emphasize the danger of this pandemic. People should be isolating and anyone coughing even the slightest should be completely covering their mouth.

Some ideas (questions) for how the virus could possibly get from the face to the deep lung where ACE2 receptors are located in case anyone has any knowledge to share:

Could it be that:

1. There are cells with virus receptors in the oronasopharynx? The virus replicates in those cells, is released and makes its way into the bloodstream, and is carried to the alveolar region where it somehow connects with alveolar receptor cells?

2. There is a small amount of fluid in the throat that regularly makes it way past the glottis into the trachea, and somehow virus in the trachea makes it way down to the alveolar region?

3. There are macrophages in the oronasopharynx that pick up the virus, either because they have virus receptors or simply scavenge, and these macrophages migrate down to the alveolar region?

4. Given that a single virus is a nanoparticle, a virus physically navigates through a capillary wall in a mucous membrane in the oronasopharynx, enters the bloodstream, and is is carried to the alveolar region where it somehow connects with receptor cells? (I believe that at least some nanoparticles can pass through capillary walls.)

5. Particles with the virus attach to the face by contact or deposition from people coughing, and are then somehow released to the air and aspirated to the deep lung? (Added 3/14)

???

Thus far to my knowledge no biological explanation has been given for why hand washing would help. POINT IS HAND WASHING IS NOT GOING TO PREVENT THE PANDEMIC. STOP EMPHASIZING THAT OVER PROTECTION FROM COUGHING!

To be absolutely clear, of course hand washing is still important, if only to prevent other illnesses when health care services may be overwhelmed, so those with COVID-19 have more chance of living. Slowing the infection rate so health care resources are available to those who are sick makes a huge difference in the death rate. Also to be clear, yes it is certainly possible that hand-to-face contact might cause COVID-19 infection in at least some cases, evidently we don’t know yet. But ignoring the respiratory transmission is a deadly mistake.

My hunch at this point given everything is that small particles are a significant source of COVID-19 infection. Small particles might stay airborne for long periods of time. They are emitted primarily by coughing.

CDC-still-learning-COVID-19-spread-by-coughing-15March2020-blackborder

CDC is admitting they don’t know enough yet and again that the virus is thought to be passed “mainly from person-to-person…through respiratory droplets when somebody coughs or sneezes.”

CDC further states “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavir…/2019-ncov/…/transmission.html

Please alert anyone suggesting that hand washing is the answer, especially organizations doing outreach, to stop giving a false sense of security and misplaced fear. Teach people to cover their coughs as if lives depend on it – they do.


Meggs holds a Master’s in Public Health (Environmental Health Sciences Division) from the University of California at Berkeley.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2020 12:41 am

    Just to answer the question in advance, no I’m not saying to stop washing your hands. Washing hands is very important for many reasons. Start covering your cough! And avoid places where people are or HAVE BEEN coughing.

  2. March 13, 2020 2:13 am

    Want to understand how far behind pandemic control is in the USA?
    View at Medium.com

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