Masks are Back in Fashion and How Doctors Really Treat Coronavirus Patients

Masks are Back in Fashion

From ninjacat14@deviantart

Do I ever get tired of being right? I do not.

Today the mayors of Los Angeles and New York City recommended that everyone wear “face coverings” in public if they’re likely to pass within six feet of anyone. Bandannas, scarves, or even—gasp!—masks. (Though they’re still holding the word “mask” at arm’s length, as if it were a dead rat. Sissies.) Read more...

What’s the Coronavirus Endgame?

Well, since nobody else is talking about how this COVID-19 epidemic is going to pan out, I’ll take a stab at it. I present this without proof, as a prediction. It’s obvious, anyway:

  • We’re in a holding pattern as we wait for adequate supplies to arrive: test kits, ventilators, antivirals, masks, antibody-rich blood plasma, infrared thermometers, etc.
  • “Masks4All” will become a Thing. It’s already a grass-roots movement. Soon the technicians will reprogram the animatronic talking heads in charge of the CDC and the FDA, and they’ll jerk and spasm into line and tell us to use the best masks we can. Improvised masks, until medical-grade masks start being delivered to Home Depot and Amazon again. It’s not like these people are real or anything, so they can change their tune with no memory of their past statements.
  • When? Within days.
  • Shortly after that, we’ll be required to  wear masks (or bandannas, or scarves, or whatever we can).
  • Soon people in high-risk groups will be offered all the N95 masks they want. First health-care workers, then the elderly and people with medical conditions, then grocery-store employees, then everyone.
  • We’ll finally start testing not only people with symptoms, but everyone people with symptoms have come into contact with. Everyone testing positive is isolated and treated. Their contacts are isolated, too.
  • Infrared temperature guns will be deployed at places of high danger for infection. No getting in unless your temperature is normal. Hospitals, doctors’ offices, buses, train stations, grocery stores, schools, churches, etc. This was one of the key ways that China and South Korea got the epidemic under control. It’s a zillion times faster the virus test, and …  maybe half as effective? It’s one of the keys to opening up crowded places like schools again. (This is already being done in some health-care settings in the US.)
  • Antivirals will become universal in treatment. All confirmed cases, presumed cases, and suspected cases will be given the best antivirals in the store. Soon the shootout between Old Faithful generics like hydroxychloroquine and New Kids like remdesivir will make the prescription flowchart more interesting, but it’ll start with “prescribe what you’ve got.”
  • Antivirals will become universal preventatives among people in risk groups: health-care workers, the elderly, grocery checkout staff, etc.
  • Blood plasma (from people who have recovered) is chock-full of antibodies and will cure most of the severe cases.
  • The other test, the one that tests for antibodies instead of for the virus, will be deployed on a massive scale to separate the sheep from the lambs. If you have your full complement of antibodies, you’re immune, so you get to work in any job you like.
  • Everyone will be allowed to be out and about if they’re taking preventative antivirals and using a good mask, both of which will soon be superabundant.
  • At this point, most things can go back to normal-ish while we wait for the vaccine.
  • How long? Depends on how good we are at intimidating bureaucrats. The production capacity getting is there if we don’t let the people in Washington tie themselves to the railroad tracks. Or if we have the sense to keep going if they do.
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    Don’t Go Out Without Wearing a Mask (or a Bandanna, or Something)

    Look, it’s really simple: coughing into the air infects people. You’re supposed to put a barrier between your cough and everybody else, like a handkerchief. If you were the clever inventor type, you’d come up with the idea that tying a handkerchief around your face would intercept your coughs even if both hands were full or if the cough was very sudden. You’d have invented the face mask. Read more...

    Turning the Corner on Coronavirus

    A lot of our so-called leaders, putative experts, and alleged Brainiacs of all kinds have a real talent for obsessing over trifles.

    Take masks. All we need are a few hundred million n95 masks and a few billion surgical masks. We’re not there yet, but it won’t take long.

    Especially because everyone’s focused on ramping up production, right? No, of course not! People with teeny-tiny minds (most people in the suit-wearing and sounding-smart biz) are freaked out because Home Depot is sold out. I hate to tell you this, but hospitals don’t buy their masks at Home Depot. They buy them from medical-supply wholesalers. Read more...

    Coronavirus: Positive Developments

    Reuse of FFP2 masks. Paper from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health.  FFP2 is the European equivalent of an n95 mask. They found hydrogen peroxide effective in sterilizing the mask, allowing it to be used three times. Read the paper for details: it involves more than spritzing it.

    UW Medicine Interim Treatment Guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 Infection/COVID-19. These are the current treatment guidelines (updated March 19) by the most experienced coronavirus team in the US. Interestingly, they already use antivirals on every COVID-19 patient, preferably Remdesivir, which is in clinical trial, but otherwise Hydroxychloroquine. Read more...