New studies, findings to help us fight virus

Published April 13, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


A new study  published  Friday by the Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal  of the  US  Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention, has found that  the coronavirus COVID-19  can travel up to 13 feet (four meters) in the air.

The study was conducted by Chinese researchers who tested air samples and  surfaces in coronavirus wards at  the Huoshenshan Hospital  in Wuhan, China,  where the virus was first detected in December last year. A total of 24 patients  were in the wards and  intensive care unit, which were studied  from Feb.  9  to March 2.

The virus was found to be most  heavily concentrated  on  the floors  of the wards. Droplets containing the virus from the infected patients  appeared  to have floated to the floor.  The virus was also found on the  soles  of the shoes of the medical staff.

The virus was found  as far as 13 feet  from the patients  but these were of small quantities and, the researchers believe,  not necessarily infectious.  High levels of the virus were found on frequently touched surfaces in the wards such as door knobs, bed railings, and  the  mouse used in computers  in  the wards.

When the World Health Organization (WHO) called for “social distancing” to help  stop  the  spread of the COVID-19,  it suggested  a  distance of two meters.  People  lining  up for groceries in a few open  supermarkets  or  for  food assistance from local governments  are  thus told to keep  about  two meters  from the next in  line.

The two-meter distance has surely helped, but  it must not be seen as sure protection, for  the new research  findings  show the virus travels much farther than two meters.   A face mask will help reduce the risk.

Recent reports from emergency rooms in COVID-19 hotspots  in  Europe and the United States  also say that  there are more men than women, as well as more obese people among  those suffering severe symptoms  of  coronavirus.  Britain’s Intensive Care National Audit  and Research Center said 73 percent of those in intensive care units were men and 73.4 percent were overweight. The experts, however, were  unsure  why.

There  is  indeed so much that is not known about this virus. We  were  among a few nations that imposed early lockdowns or quarantines that helped to limit its spread here.  It  continues  to spread in so many other  countries that are only  now enforcing lockdowns and social distancing among their people.

The end is not in sight, but  the findings of researchers  such as those in China and in Europe will help  ordinary  people  protect themselves, while scientists keep up their search for an effective cure and an effective vaccine for COVID-19.