I have stopped following my notifications on Twitter today. I had to for my #mentalhealth. All that I am seeing trending is false information, political blame games, and misinformation about preparedness.
I’m gonna keep this one short and sweet…
Masks, except for medical-grade, have NOT proven effective barriers against any virus.
Viruses are incredibly tiny. They are ten to one-hundred times smaller than bacteria. So small in fact that it requires a powerful electron microscope to see them.
This is a piece of fabric under a regular microscope.
See all those holes. They are not even doorways, they are more like you walking under a bridge in comparison. Those specs you see are most likely dust particles, which are larger than most bacteria. This YouTube video gives the best illustration of what we are dealing with that I know.
The thing is that viruses CANNOT move on their own. So, yes, theoretically, a mask should trap the virus on the outside. And if it is merely an issue of touching your face after touching a contaminated surface, then it may provide protection.
Back to those spaces between the cloth fibers being like a bridge, you ever have much trouble getting your car under that bridge at those speeds?
Are masks completely worthless then?
Perhaps they have some LIMITED value if the person wearing them is the one who is spreading the virus. But statistics show us that even then a portion of virus particles will get through the mask.
Gloves on the other hand (I guess I have not lost my sense of humor yet) are much more effective when used properly.
Most experts agree that the virus can live for up to 24 hours on surfaces. Perhaps more on certain non-porous surfaces like glass and metal. As I said before this means that cashpoints/ATMs may be some of the biggest risks for spreading this disease. Door handles. All those cans and jars in the stores that people are buying, too.
Let me draw you a map…
An infected person, who may feel fine (you are infectious up to 14 days before your first symptoms) goes out to the shops…
His first stop is the cashpoint. He rubs his nose with his fingers then touches the keypad. The virus spreads to those. Everyone who touches them will now POTENTIALLY be exposed and never know where or how they caught it.
Then he holds the door open for a nice older woman. The virus spreads POSSIBLY to everyone who touches that door handle.
He also spreads it to every item that he handles and the money he uses to pay for his purchases.
And he did not even get within a meter of anyone.
Now, you wore gloves. You stand a meter or more behind him at the cashpoint. You even pick up a couple of the items he put back. You are behind him in line and pay with your debit card.
Your risk is lower for having those gloves.
As long as you DO NOT TOUCH your face with them!!!
You can and should lower your risk further by wiping the outside of those cans with a mild bleach solution or leaving them to sit untouched in a quarantine space for 24 hours. (We use our vestibule for all our Amazon deliveries with a 24-hour rule.) ***Update – new info extended this 48 to 72 hours.***
Oh, and no need to panic buy medical gloves. ANY old glove will do. Winter wool ones. Gardening ones. My favorites are the 1950s formal style that I wore to clubs back in the day.
It was frustrating for me the last time I went out to see all those people wearing masks, thinking they were protected, but having no care for anything they touch.
One more thing though: If possible wash those gloves when you take them off! That is why I switched from my thicker suede gloves to my cloth ones.
And always, ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS!
As soon as you get back and unpack those supplies.
I am not even going to address the issue of political blame games. If you are really curious about my views then check out this old blog.
But by far the thing that got in my craw the most this morning was the #StopHoarding hashtag.
Preparedness is NOT panic buying or hoarding.
Prepping gets its name from the word…PREPARE.
That means that preppers were ahead of the curve. And that we know better than to waste our time or money on toilet paper or bottled water.
A prepper begins with knowing their environment.
That means a prepper is aware of the most common threats to them and makes a plan for those. The UK where I live now has a lot less to be concerned about than other places I have lived. For instance…
South Carolina where I grew up had two major threats. 1) Tornadoes and 2) Hurricanes. Now we did not live on the coast so #2 was not a big deal except that it would spawn #1. We always had a plan for where to go in an emergency. Now, this is a tough one to truly prepare for unless you have a basement or a bunker, but we were aware of that…and knew that Miss McCall would share her canned goods with us.
Houston, Texas where I lived for a decade was susceptible to those hurricanes. Which meant prolonged power outages and yes, water contamination. So, I always kept canned goods and some bottled water on hand for emergencies.
Los Angeles well, this one is just a death zone. Earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, and Hollywood. Honestly, you get so inured to it all that most don’t take proper precautions. And I admit I did not either. Bugging out – in other words getting out of the danger zone is the best option. But then again some of those give you no warning. LA might be one of the few places where keeping a supply of bottled water is essential.
Since coming to the UK though, my prepper tendencies (and I do NOT claim to be full-fledged) have made me the source of ridicule. The Brits have an especially nasty sense of humor. They call it ‘taking the piss.’ And of course, it is always your fault for not being able to take a joke.
Except now, those are the very people who are on that hashtag. Partly that is because the British culture has over thousand-year history of trusting the government to take care of them. For an oversimplified explanation of this, but a good source to work through with your kids now that school is out indefinitely is this fact sheet from UCL. And while who the ‘peasants’ are taught to trust has shifted to the government, that mentality still very much applies.
But the other thing that may be at work here is that the UK has so few natural threats, as opposed to California, that this simply blindsided them. I mean earthquakes are rare. Though admittedly I lived in LA for seven years and the only one we had I did not even feel, but I felt the one that hit Swansea a couple of years ago. We do get tropical storms, the back ends of those hurricanes. But tornadoes are exceedingly rare. Other than a pandemic such as the #coronavirus there just are not that many threats in this area. And that gives a false sense of security.
Of course, all those things combine to make a particularly nasty environment right now.
As I saw that hashtag trending, I was reminded of my shopping trip two weeks ago. First of all, we always have a four to six week supply of many things that we like most. With an autistic young person to do otherwise is to court disaster such as the Most Expensive Bagel adventure.
But this time as the news first began to filter in about Italy and the true depths of this risk plus a windfall of finances I headed to the stores. I was focused on what I bought and I bought in bulk. The family size box of laundry detergent. The multi-packs of beans and soup. The five-kilo bags of sugar. I remained focused on the things that I knew my family preferred.
As I left the store with my massive trolley, while there was plenty of stuff still on the shelves, and all those Brits ‘took the piss out’ of me, this one especially nasty woman stuck her nose in the air like the queen and said, “That’s ridiculous.”
Being me, autistic and American, I don’t let that shit go. I turned around and screamed at her, “My partner is high-risk. You can *F* off.” I am sure that woman is tweeting away with #StopHoarding. Ironically, she was older. So, now I am sure she feels entitled to complain about panic buying.
I’ll be honest…when I saw that hashtags trending this morning I considered pulling this blog. Why bother if that is how people feel? But I looked at my stats and I saw days where I have a hundred views from one or two people, and I thought…that is the point.
The whole point of this special edition is to get the truth out there to the handful of people who are willing to listen and want the information but don’t know where to turn for sane, responsible advice on #preparedness. Not just now during this initial crisis but I hope long term.
Speaking of long term, today is the first sunny day in a while. And I have started the next phase of a good preppers plan, longer-term food security. So, I need to get off here and go plant a summer garden. Yes, I will be sharing surprising easy ideas for that as well. Though if you are beginning to get the hang of my message and don’t want to wait, and if you have the time, some of the basics are already in the archives of this blog.
Goddess bless and stay prepared,
From our @HomeCrazzyHome to yours.