Tuesday, June 09, 2020

A reason for very cautious optimism about asymptomatic spread of corona virus. Don't put away the mask yet.

Recent discussion, at World Health Organization, about the possibility that spread of corona virus could be rare form people who are asymptomatic is only a ray of possible optimism. I wouldn't recommend putting away the mask.

My first thought is that the anxiety level can go down a bit. If this was to be true, it could make it easier to prioritize who needs to be quarantined.

If spread from asymptomatic people is a serious threat, as has been thought all along, it's bad news given that there still isn't easy testing. We really need an app on the smartphone that can be administered each day to tell if one is infected.

The science is still evolving. To be on the safe side, I would still recommend distancing and wearing masks around people.

Personally, I would guess that obvious coughing and sneezing is more dangerous, to be around, than calm breathing. Things like singing, such as in choirs, still seems risky.

The World Health Organization is walking back some optimistic comments made by one of it's employees, but her comments still bring rays of optimism to my way of thinking.

I have excerpted this glimmer of hope from an article in Washington Post.

Some countries, using contact tracing to work backward from confirmed cases, have not found many instances of asymptomatic spread, WHO officials noted.

Yesterday, there was another article (I found on Facebook from another publication) saying that WHO says people who are asymptomatic are much less likely to spread the disease. I didn't re post right away, partially because I was headed to bed anyway.

This morning, I awake to more cautious news. Good idea to wait about re posting new findings given the fact checking.

Interesting to note that some conservatives used this news in support of opposition to wearing masks. News from the same WHO that Trump is withdrawing US funding for. Kind of an irony.

I would have never suggested putting away the mask, as it's good to be on the safe side.

On the other hand, if asymptomatic spread of the virus is rare, that's big news, given the reopening of the economy and people's level of anxiety. Would make it a lot easier to prioritize who needs to be quarantined. Especially good news given the lack of easy testing; such as testing from an app on one's smartphone that can be administered daily to see who is infected.

When I first heard that the malaria drug might be useful, it did give me a sense of hope, but I didn't run out and buy anything. Later, that drug seems to be proving not good against the virus, but the basic idea that we can find better treatments, someday, is hopeful.

There are better treatments being explored.

With evolving science, it's good to take a wait and see attitude.

I sometimes think in terms of layers. Layers of protection against dying from the virus. If asymptomatic people are less likely to spread the virus. That's good news as it's another layer of protection to add to the other layers we have; like social distancing and masks. It isn't certain, but it might be another layer.

I think of social distancing and masks as being layers of protection. The more layers we have available, the better.

Better testing and better treatments are layers of protection also. A vaccine is an ultimate layer of protection.

At some point, we will be able to shuck layers of protection, but even if we get a vaccine, it might be like the flue vaccine and not be a perfect protection.

Someday, we might be able to go dancing again in crowded spaces with no masks. Meanwhile, the more layers of protection, that are reasonable, the better. That is without being too paranoid or going overboard.

I would suggest wearing masks, but eventually we may get enough layers, in society, that protect us more invisibly; like vaccines and the herd immunity that they bring. The ability to better prioritize who to worry about; like people obviously coughing might help. Generous sick leave policies would help. Layers of protection.

I still don't worry a lot about just walking past someone briefly even if I don't happen to have my mask on. I sometimes do hold my breath for a few seconds.

For shopping, I don't have to hoard groceries. I just go when the stores are not crowded and I don't have to stay that long if I'm not hoarding groceries. I wear my mask when inside stores and other public spaces.

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