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Issue #37: Covid Vigilance

Rodney B. Murray
May 29 · 6 min read

Just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean COVID-19 is not out to get you! ~Me

I was going to cover ‘Covid Vaccine Advances’ this time, but a proven vaccine is still far off. Instead, I wanted to alert you to things you can do right now to help make sure that you will survive the COVID-19 onslaught. Indeed, I have rose-colored glasses, but that doesn’t mean I have a blind eye on how to prepare for the worst.

Nearly 3/4 of people surveyed say they already wear masks in public or intend to do so in the near future. I assume you are already wearing masks in public, wash your hands, and perhaps use gloves when you venture out to get groceries.

In this issue, I highlight three items that you should seriously consider purchasing right now to increase your chances of surviving until effective treatment or a proven vaccine are available.

Masks: Cloth vs N95 vs KN95

I now have a pile of poorly fitting cheap and not-so-cheap masks purchased on eBay and Etsy. Do they do the job? Sort of. Cheap cloth masks are mainly to protect others from you as an undiagnosed carrier. They are fine for most outdoor activities. Up until recently, I was reserving my one N95 mask for adventures in grocery shopping. Little did I know that the 10-year old N95 mask I found in my toolbox was NOT what I should be wearing!

You can wear any style of mask you want, so long as it doesn’t have a valve in it. What? Why? Because a mask with a valve may protect you from some pathogens in the air, but it doesn’t protect the people around you from your own breath.

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DO NOT USE THIS TYPE OF MASK. Credit: 3M

Good News: You should really consider buying KN95 (a Chinese standard very similar to NIOSH N95) masks since N95 masks are hard to purchase unless you are a healthcare worker. Properly fitted KN95 masks will also protect YOU from inhaling virus droplets instead of “just” protecting others.

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Also, from 3M: Comparison of FFP2, KN95, and N95 and Other Filtering Facepiece Respirator Classes (PDF)

Is Your KN95 Face Mask Authentic? 3 Ways You Can Test For Counterfeits At Home

Ok, so now that you know you should be wearing KN95 masks in high-risk pursuits like grocery shopping or going to the hospital, where do you get one and is it authentic? Unfortunately, there are scammers out there. See what the CDC says about these counterfeits. I haven’t found any ads for N95 or KN95 masks on Amazon or Facebook, but there are scads of them on eBay. Are they authentic?

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Credit: iPromo.com

Good News: Learn how you can see if your KN95 mask is authentic using a lighter, water, and Sweet’N Low! One source I trust has recommended manoos.com for KN95 masks (Thanks, Mike). Mine passed two of the three tests since I’ve stopped using Sweet’N Low a long time ago.

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What’s a Pulse Oximeter, and Do I Really Need One at Home?

It seems like new symptoms of COVID-19 pop up every week. It used to be thought that you didn’t have the virus if you didn’t have a fever — NOT TRUE. Fever is experienced by 83–99% of those diagnosed with COVID-19 and the fever may only come on later as the disease progresses. Btw, scientists now say the average body temperature is now around 97.5° F, not 98.6° F. A fever is defined as a body temperature higher than 100.4°.

One of the more insidious aspects of this disease is that it can cause a type of pneumonia where you do not even become short of breath until you need to be rushed to the hospital to be put on a ventilator.

After working for 10 days at Bellevue Hospital in New York, Dr. Richard Levitan decided to share what he had learned about Covid-19. Too many patients were showing up at the hospital with perilously low oxygen levels, putting them at risk for severe complications and death.

But a simple home gadget called a pulse oximeter could help alert patients to seek help sooner, he said.

“In the hospital, when I’m trying to decide who I send home, a big part of the criteria is ‘What is your oxygen? What is your pulse?’” said Dr. Levitan from his home in New Hampshire, where he just finished self-quarantine as a precaution. “With a pulse oximeter and a thermometer, Americans can be prepared and be diagnosed and treated before they get really, really sick.”

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Credit: Amazon (Lovia)

Good News: The last time I checked you can still buy a Pulse Oximeter (the one I purchased) from Amazon for $46 and get it delivered in a couple of days. Also, it probably won’t be long until your iPhone can also do pulse oximetry.

Normal oxygen saturation is usually between 96% and 98%. Levels below 90% are considered low and may warrant oxygen supplementation and/or treatment.

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Disinfect using Ultraviolet-C

Here, I’m not talking about Ultraviolet-A which makes up the majority of the ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. It’s probably most responsible for skin aging. UV-B, a shorter wavelength can damage the DNA in our skin, leading to sunburn and skin cancer, but thankfully can be blocked by sunscreen lotions.

A third type, UV-C, is a shorter, more energetic wavelength of light and is capable of destroying DNA in humans and viral particles. Most of it is filtered out by ozone in the atmosphere before it reaches our skin. UV-C is very dangerous, so don’t even think of using it to disinfect yourself, as Trump has suggested.

Since the finding in 1878, artificially produced UVC has become a staple method of sterilisation — one used in hospitals, airplanes, offices, and factories every day. Crucially, it’s also fundamental to the process of sanitising drinking water; some parasites are resistant to chemical disinfectants such as chlorine, so it provides a failsafe.

Though there hasn’t been any research looking at how UVC affects Covid-19 specifically, studies have shown that it can be used against other coronaviruses, such as Sars. The radiation warps the structure of their genetic material and prevents the viral particles from making more copies of themselves.

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Credit: 3B Medical Inc.

Good News: There are numerous UV-C lamp devices on the market but one I use is designed to disinfect CPAP masks — Lumin by 3B Medical ($299). It can be used to disinfect cloth masks or any small objects that may have been exposed to the virus such as cell phones, wallets, and credit cards after a shopping trip. Though the most expensive of the three things I recommend here, it’s a bargain if you also have sleep apnea. (Note that some other CPAP cleaners use ozone, an extreme pulmonary irritant if not used properly.)

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After reaching the horrendous milestone of over 100,000 deaths after merely three months, it’s hard to be optimistic about how this administration is responding to the pandemic. On the other hand, I’m optimistic that everyone who follows the recommendations from scientists can prevail. You know the drill, wash your hands, and wear masks and keep a safe distance when in public. In addition, be just a little bit paranoid and consider these three precautions to be extra safe.

Optimistically yours,
Dr. Rod Murray

P.S. In case you missed it, you can read Covid Treatment Advances and other back issues on The GOOD NEWSletter site on Medium.

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The GOOD NEWSletter

I scour the Internet for good news, so you don’t have to!

Rodney B. Murray

Written by

e-Learning executive, podcaster, pharmacologist, motorcyclist and militant optimist

The GOOD NEWSletter

I scour the Internet for good news, so you don’t have to! Sign up for the email newsletter at www.MilitantOptimist.com.

Rodney B. Murray

Written by

e-Learning executive, podcaster, pharmacologist, motorcyclist and militant optimist

The GOOD NEWSletter

I scour the Internet for good news, so you don’t have to! Sign up for the email newsletter at www.MilitantOptimist.com.

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