Sunday, March 15, 2020

Still Out There Mingling Unncessarily?

     Why not?  After all, you're young and healthy and for you, if the (best guesstimate) one-in-ten chance hits and you do get a nice dose of the current coronavirus, so what?  In your slice of the demographic, it'll be no worse than a bad cold about 999 times out of a thousand and you like those odds.

     Here's why you shouldn't:
Most cases of COVID-19 are not severe enough to require mechanical ventilation (artificial assistance to support breathing), but a percentage of cases do. This is most common in older adults (those older than 60 years and especially those older than 80 years). This component of treatment is the biggest rate-limiter of health system capacity that drives the need to flatten the curve (to keep the speed at which new cases occur and thus the number of people sick at one point in time lower). This is why social distancing is so important to saving the lives of others, not just to preserving one's own. This fact falsifies the argument that a young healthy adult can ignore the need for social distancing, accept a mild flu-like illness, recover, and move on. The burden on the healthcare system will also limit the availability of other types of health care, such as that required after a motor vehicle collision. 
     Didja get that?  You're a disease vector.  We all are, all the time, and every cold and flu season is a reminder of it. The grandparent you save may be your own -- or maybe they're a doctor, nurse or delivery driver.

     The Wikipedia article includes some nice little animated GIFs that show a number of possible responses and their effects.  Go have a look -- and consider their implications.
*  *  *
     Here's something the geekier biomedical types are already thinking of, I'll bet: just how much of a ventilator does it take to get someone through a really bad lung inflammation, and how can that be improvised?

     Before the polio vaccine, Australia had a problem with the high price of imported iron lungs -- so they started building their own, out of plywood and vacuum-cleaner parts, at a tenth of the cost.  These days, assisted-pressure help machines for sleep apnea are darned near consumer goods -- but do they move enough air?  Can they safely be made to help someone struggling for their next breath?  Can you use them to handle the slightly less-severe cases?

     Pray we don't have to find out, but remember, too, that we're a nation of tinkerers with a lot of useful junk to hand.


stuartl said...

Flattening the curve is the strategy of the UK goverment, rather than total lockdown.
I've read that in the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak the second wave was the worst.
By flatting the curve they are hoping to relieve the stress on the NHS and get enough people who can tolerate catching it without needing hospital care so that when it reappears later on in the year sufficient people have natural immunity to contain it. This approach isn't without it's critics, but it seems to me a worth while gamble.
Problem is that there is a lot of politicaly motivated criticism from people who hate our current Prime Minister.

Drang said...

The big obstacle in medical innovation has been government regulation, and since the fed has not only (largely) gotten out of the way, but may actually holding innovator's coats, we may see movement.

At least until HHS and it's subordinates stop attracting negative attention.

(I suspect that President Trump won't stop attracting negative attention even after he dies, unlike most former Republican politicians.)

Old NFO said...

Concur with all! And that is a good link!

Will Brown said...

Regarding the ventilator question, all things space-related blogger Rand Simberg pointed out this:

Not that anyone abiding at Roseholme Cottage actually needs another hobby ...

Paul said...

Just what we need some steam punk gothic breathing machine.

I can see it now. some little motor running a bar working a bellows. Rube Goldberg at its best.

Might was well have some humor with it they our nannying betters are telling us we are all going to die.

I know that, just doubt it will be tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Saw Tam's pic of Holden, he could have been a litter-mate of my Simone. I suspected she had a bit of Maine Coon in her as well. It's kinda scary how much Holden looks like her. Green eyes and all.

When I adopted my Simone, her fur was horribly matted on her chest and belly, and I was able to clear it by *carefully* sliding a fine metal comb under the clumps of matted mess and slicing them off with a new razor blade changed frequently. The metal comb was between her skin and the clumps, and it kept her from being nicked. It worked, but it took a few hours.

When I finally got the worst of the thick clump off her chest, i was shocked as she was finally able to breath in a full breath. It was literally keeping her lungs from filling with air. The matting must have been building since she was a kitten.

The hair on my Simone was a daily combing chore, but she *loved* the sensation of the comb on her skin. With a bit of tugging, the clumps did pull out, but you really need to keep up on the combing.

Mine also hid when I brought her home, my vet suspected her previous owners had kids that tortured her, since she would cry when I picked her up.

I nearly lost her the first year I owned her, when I had an apartment fire. Thankfully, the complex maintenance guy saw the smoke and opened the front door and she bolted into the woods, where I found her 2 hours later. I listened to her breathing through her nose, and it had a wet, raspy sound to it so I immediately took her to the 24 hour vet nearby. Decongestants and a night in an oxygen tent did the trick, and she survived. I started calling her my $500 shelter rescue cat.

The experience resulted in an immediate change in her hiding attitude, she wanted to be near me after that experience. I was happy to oblige.

Mine passed 2 years ago at age 19, and I don't yet have it in me to adopt another one yet. In the last 3 years of her life, she went totally deaf and mostly blind from cataracts. Cataracts suck, I recently had my eyes turned bionic and am still getting used to them. (I'm your vintage, BTW, have your eye guy or gal check yours. They form so slowly you don't really notice it until it gets bad, then it's really bad.)

Electric pet clippers that look like barber's clippers are about 30 bucks, if you want to go the electric route. I bet he would prefer the manual combing, mine always purred loudly and smiled when I combed her...