COVID 19 Probe – Is 6′ far Enough to Dodge Aerosols?

The following comment was posted by BU commenter yallsmall to the blog COVID 19 Challenges for SIDs – A Lack of Discipline Exposed. An interesting exchange which probes the urgent need to define a relevant strategy to effectively fight COVID 19

David, Barbados Underground


Those posts were an attempt to publicize what I think might be the most important misconception by the Epidemiological community as well as the Politicians in this whole global Pandemic situation.

The most recent pandemics or near-pandemics in the world have been caused by coronaviruses. Reducing or eliminating the spread of these viruses require the use of very old techniques used with a mix of new ones. The science of Virology has modernized the tools that are used for designing protocols for control as well as make the visualization of the pathogens and their interaction with host cells whether human or non-human more apparent. The study of relevant aspects of the pathogen (e.g. Covid-19); the host (man); and how the pathogen spreads and infects the host (e.g. if vectors are important and how so) as well as the determination of the environmental factors that assist in or detracts from the rate of spread.

It has long been known that most Coronaviruses attacking humans are spread by droplets as well as aerosols. Droplets from coughs do not travel far under ordinary circumstances but aerosols produced by the rapid drying out of droplets could travel several times the 6 ft limit that has been determined for droplets.

If it is true that Covid-19 spreads by aerosols it would require a significant reworking of the 6ft distancing rule and suggest that that rule might have inadvertently contributed to a significant proportion of the horrendous carnage that Covid-19 has caused around the world so far.

The Czech authorities have had a relatively good outcome, so far, in their war against the spread of Covid-19. They appear to attribute this mainly to the universal use of Masks. The US has had to be dragged kicking and screaming to recommend the voluntary use of low quality masks. It is quite possible that the universal use of good quality masks by the total population might fill a large part of the void between the suppression of aerosols and the 6ft space.

There are many aspects of this area that could promote a good wide ranging BU discussion.

Relevant links:

178 thoughts on “COVID 19 Probe – Is 6′ far Enough to Dodge Aerosols?


  1. Hal Austin
    April 20, 2020 4:49 AM

    @ Quaker John
    Is it smoking, the inhalation of motor vehicle fumes, a contaminated environment, what is it? More importantly, @Quaker John, is there a list of plantation owners in St John over the last 100 years?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Let’s see if we can use some skillful thinking.

    Mumbai has not gone the way of New York.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/31/asia/coronavirus-lockdown-impact-pollution-india-intl-hnk/index.html

    So simple logic would tend to indicate pollution on its own is not a major factor.

    So, you are left with the tried and tested way people have damaged their lungs, smoking.

    … and in the case of New York, 911!!

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/gabrielsanchez/these-powerful-photos-show-the-bravery-and-selflessness-of

    Pretty clear conditions at Ground Zero were far worse than any cigarette smoking.

    Regarding plantation owners in St. John, the Queree Papers in the Archives details plantation ownership of every plantation in Barbados back to the 17th century.

    Stops in the 1970’s.


  2. “China is the world’s most populated country, and is also the leading country in the cigarette industry. In 2014, China produced and consumed more than 30% of the cigarettes in the world. There is a strong relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and smoking behaviors.”


  3. John you should find this Information Interesting…

    Covid-19 Virus Conspiracy? Toxicity Ignored: Part 2 – Dr. Rashid A. Buttar

    about a month ago ·

    The level of toxicity in Wuhan was documented as far back as 2013 when people began complaining in Wuhan. Numerous reports of public outcry in 2015 culminated with BBC and CNN coverage of the mass protests in Wuhan due to the incinerator pollution garnering enough attention to gain the ear of the international community in 2016 and 2017. As recently as July 2019, more public demonstrations and clashes occurred between citizens and police due to social unrest because of the level of incinerator pollution was growing unchecked.

    https://www.facebook.com/DrRashidAButtar/videos/162476698190613/


  4. But, Mr Genius, correlation is not causation. Because an elderly person smoked as a youth does not mean s/he becomes vulnerable to CoVid-19. It is an illogical connection.
    We can make the same assumption about people who ate cou-cou as a youth. If you ate cou-cou you are likely to develop diabetes. Reminds me of doctors; they ask questions and when you reply they throw the answers back at you as a likely cause of your reported illness. If you refuse to answer silly questions you are described as difficult.
    I once had an argument with a young Indian Registrar who started telling me about West Indian lifestyles etc. I stopped him and asked him where he got that information, when he said research, I asked for the details and he got angry. It is bogus.
    I remember an Asian doctor again asking me if I had ever visited Africa; my reply was that the nearest I got to Africa was Borough Market, in South East London. He missed the joke. Southward has the largest African population in the UK. Not only have I| never visited Africa, I have no desire to do so.
    Had I said yes he would have gone on with the stereotypes of Africa and Africans. All he saw was a black man.
    @Quaker John, I know you think you have a big point. It is nonsense. What other illnesses is smoking responsible for?


  5. Hal Austin
    April 20, 2020 11:43 AM

    Because an elderly person smoked as a youth does not mean s/he becomes vulnerable to CoVid-19.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Never said that!!

    An elderly person is more likely to have been in places (Ground Zero), been around smokers, smoked etc etc than a young person.

    Call it experience.

    A young person who has smoked, been around smokers AND has impaired lung function proven to be associated with cigarette smoking is just as likely to die as an old person.

    Its the lungs.

    A relative in Barbados, former chain smoker, healthy as a horse died at 91 of pneumonia.

    Caught flu and it progressed to pneumonia.

    Lung capacity reduced by years of smoking I am told by his son the doctor said, otherwise he would have cruised through the pneumonia like he had most setbacks in his life.

    He was actually smoke free for the last 20 years of his life.


  6. Hal Austin
    April 20, 2020 11:43 AM

    We can make the same assumption about people who ate cou-cou as a youth. If you ate cou-cou you are likely to develop diabetes

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You are confused!!

    If you smoke you are likely to develop Diabetes Type II and guess what, Diabetes is condition which makes a person likely to die if they get COVID-19.

    Did smoking cause the death or diabetes … or COVID-19?

    “In fact, smokers are 30–40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. And people with diabetes who smoke are more likely than nonsmokers to have trouble with insulin dosing and with controlling their disease. The more cigarettes you smoke, the higher your risk for type 2 diabetes.”

    Smokers are also 34% more likely to get flu than non-smokers!!

    Doesn’t take a genius!!


  7. @Quaker John

    Thank you. I thought something was wrong with me. If one was a smoker or has an underlying condition such as diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure, contracting CoVid-19 means that these conditions would not help. But the cause of death is the virus, not the underlying conditions.
    You are fixated on smoking, but there are other lifestyles issues that do not help ie lack of physical exercise. I know it is not your case, but the crisis is throwing up a lot of nonsense.
    Up until November last year if I washed my hands too often I would be considered to be suffering from OCD, a mental illness. If I do now I am aware of protective health.
    In the UK people are now saying that so-called over-crowding can be a cause of transmission. What they mean is that a cultural tradition that was fine up until November (having your elderly living with the nuclear family, a mainly Asian and West Indian tradition in the UK) is now considered a liability.
    The real issue no one wants to discuss, either in the US or UK, is that doctors are not giving black people, especially the elderly, the kind of treatment they provide for white people, especially young, professional men an women.
    Doctors and nurses are racists too, they are not angels. It is one thing applauding every Thursday evening celebrating health service workers, but we must remember they can be just as crude as vicious as any other worker.
    I am not going off topic, but we can compare this with the treatment of prostate cancer in the UK. A higher proportion of Caribbean men suffer from prostate cancer, yet the charity campaigning for support is reluctant to use black people in its promotions or even target middle aged black men.
    Surely, I suggest, this marginalisation must go through in to treatment. The same with coronavirus.


  8. Hal

    https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52308783

    “Coronavirus: Nine in 10 dying have existing illness”

    “The ONS looked at nearly 4,000 deaths during March in England and Wales where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate.

    In 91% of cases the individuals had other health problems.

    The most common was heart disease, followed by dementia and respiratory illness.

    On average, people dying also had roughly three other health conditions.

    It comes amid signs the coronavirus outbreak is deterring people from going to A&E.

    The number of people attending major units has nearly halved since the virus first emerged in the UK.”

    Every one of the pre existing conditions in the article CAN be caused by smoking.

    I know that because I spent most of the 1990’s working with the Heart Foundation of Barbados as my voluntary service and routinely was involved in discussions where cardiologists and open heart surgery patients were also involved.

    Even dementia can be caused by smoking!!

    I don’t have to be a genius to listen and digest what I hear from real people involved with and/or suffering from various real medical conditions.

    Further, if heart disease is the number one pre existing condition that is a cause of death for those who catch the virus then logically it follows that those sectors of the community which are more pre disposed to them will have a higher death rate.

    So if black people, young or elderly, are more prone to heart disease then it logically follows that the death rate among that segment of the population will be higher.

    No genius is necessary.


  9. On the other side of the pond:

    “African Americans have higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease than other groups. Nearly 15 percent of African Americans have diabetes compared with 8 percent of whites. Asthma prevalence is also highest among blacks.”


  10. @ John

    Again. You cannot compare black people in the UK with black people in the US, unless you are saying any problems are genetic. There are fundamentally two different cultures, although they may have certain sub-cultural traits. You must compare black Britons with white Britons of similar socio-economic classes.
    Again, the underlying problems may not help recovery from coronavirus, but the cause of death is the virus, not the diabetes, or asthma, or high blood pressure, or that we eat lots of fried chicken.
    ONS figures can be ignored. I will give an example: officially the number of hospital deaths from coronavirus in the UK are over 16000, usually the official figures ignore deaths in care homes and at home. But there are officially over 21000 care homes in the UK; if we were to suggest that on average one person died in each of those homes – all residents are by definition elderly and highly probably suffering from underlying conditions – then we are looking at approaching 40000 deaths.
    @Quaker John, the people in the UK are scared. They cannot afford to Google and play little mind games.


  11. Hal Austin
    April 20, 2020 2:28 PM

    The real issue no one wants to discuss, either in the US or UK, is that doctors are not giving black people, especially the elderly, the kind of treatment they provide for white people, especially young, professional men an women.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    There you go comparing black people in the US and UK and now telling me “You cannot compare black people in the UK with black people in the US, unless you are saying any problems are genetic.”

    The pre existing conditions are in most cases due to lifestyle choices, nothing to do with genetics.


  12. Hal Austin
    April 20, 2020 3:02 PM

    @Quaker John, the people in the UK are scared.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Media has done its job.


  13. David;

    Mixed!

    I am very heartened by the fact that there have been 5 successive days on which there were no new cases (btw this is true for a number of our neighbours also as seen in the worldometer files).

    But what does this mean? If one is an optimist it means that there is a distinct possibility that our C-19 outbreak is just 9 days or so from ending. But if one is a pessimist it only means that new cases will erupt in the next few days and send us back to square one. The Government is strategically and sensibly playing the role of pessimist. The optimistic outlook, however, suggests that if there were any infective people and their contacts out there from the March 15th to 22nd refugees that they would have showed since April 5th. Perhaps they did show as seen from the small peaks in the trending down graphs.

    I’ll send you a modified graph that is really for TheOGazerts and anyone else interested in visualization of the epidemic to inform this discussion. I would try to update the graph every day.

    What does this all mean re. the Government’s handling of the outbreak? I think, as I said on BU from very early on, that the Ministry of Health people have done an excellent job which sets the stage for a quick turnaround and gradual amelioration of the measures.

    I think the figures show that the Government’s handling of contract tracing has been very good, as outlined by Minister Bostic yesterday. All aspects were covered including referral of possible cases by private Doctors and Health professionals.

    I think that there will be possibly be just a few more deaths in Barbados from this outbreak, depending on the status of the health of the remaining persons in quarantine.

    So what is next?

    I think that it is quite likely that the Tourism industry will be badly damaged but will not die. There is too much invested in it by both the Government and the private sector to allow it to fail totally. There will have to be a lot of strategic planning over the next few months to keep it on life support and allow it to blossom into a different entity in the next few years. Our Caribbean Islands still have a resource thaat is most valuable. If all goes right we can claim that we have withstood C-19 better than our big neighbours to the North and South. Indeed, our size will make it possible for us to make the next and following outbreaks of Covid-19, easy to control. The Caribbean Islands will be able to exploit what I think will be a fact, that we will be intrinsically capable of controlling any new outbreaks with little loss of life and deleterious effects on health. That will allow us to get the rich people to come back to our tourist plants much sooner than most people think possible.

    I think that when Covid-19 comes around again we will have ways to control it that are only now only glimmering, they may include; use of high quality masks by the whole population; minimal use of Ventilators; Use of Ozone therapies; Using new hi-tech methods for surveillance; perhaps the abandonment of vaccines and use of better new drugs in collaboration with the Animal Scientists.

    There are many other positive thoughts that could underpin our resurgence. On agriculture; University involvement in moving forward; etc. etc.

    I will send the new graph now, to be updated whenever new data comes out from the Covid task force.


  14. lyallsmall
    April 20, 2020 8:30 PM

    No new cases today. They got some swabs and other equipment yesterday .

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The key indicator is those in serious/critical condition.

    Still the same 4.


  15. lyallsmall
    April 21, 2020 6:13 AM

    David;
    Mixed!
    I am very heartened by the fact that there have been 5 successive days on which there were no new cases (btw this is true for a number of our neighbours also as seen in the worldometer files).
    But what does this mean? If one is an optimist it means that there is a distinct possibility that our C-19 outbreak is just 9 days or so from ending. But if one is a pessimist it only means that new cases will erupt in the next few days and send us back to square one.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If one is a realist it means the virus is not as contagious as feared.


  16. John

    There is actually a lot of data that suggests what you have said is really so. It just exploited a state of unreadiness and physical predisposing factors that was more evident in the US, especially New York, than elsewhere.


  17. As good as you would see in a scientific journal.

    You have seen the quality of your end game. In the future, take your time and be your own worst critic.


  18. TheOGazerts.

    You’ve made my day! Glad you liked the graph.

    I used to be almost an expert on Excel and my Master’s thesis was on an Epidemiological project many many years ago so your comments on the earlier graphs and the mistakes I made with them really hurt because you were totally right in all respects.


  19. The graph shows that the testing kits were all used up by the time April rolled around.

    Looks like they did no testing on 29th March or found no cases.

    Kits were probably being rationed coming up to the curfew or the number of cases was falling by the time the curfew was instituted.

    During the curfew either kits were rationed and testing reduced or the downward trend that had started prior to the curfew continued.

    There is a problem drawing inferences from the tiny numbers here in Barbados.

    The realist in me says it was just like a normal flu and ran its course.

    The only really vital number is the number of hospitalizations which has been small.

    Four are listed in serious/critical (assume hospitalized) and has been that way for a while.

    So, never any pressure on ICU beds.

    We owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Gale and the Cancer Society.


  20. Hal

    Here is what you can do when you have got over your fears and are thinking rationally again.

    Get the data on the total number of deaths in the UK for the first four months of this year and compare it with the total number of deaths for the first four months in previous years.

    My guess is you will become angry!!

    My guess is deaths that would be attributable to diabetes, heart disease etc will be lumped into a new category, COVID-19 and there will be little difference to discern.


  21. @ Quaker John

    You are ahead of me. I was here thinking that you are the only person on BU that could dig out the figures for the number of deaths from Feb 1 2 to April 21, 2020, and compare them with the same period for last year – ALL deaths.
    In the UK they are doctoring the death certificates and, as usual, it was a black family that exposed it. They are putting on death certificates ‘suspected CoVid-19’, whether the dead person had been tested or not.
    I sent the video to the chairman but, he claims, for technical reasons, it could not have been shown. A pity because it denies readers more information.
    I suggest you read a book called: Superior: The Return of Race Science, by Angela Saini. It is powerful. Remember Hitler was not a lone wolf, he had armies of scientists, business people and academics backing his theory of racial superiority.
    The UNESCO Statement on Race did not do away with this line of thought in science, it simply drove it underground, until it started to re-emerge in ideas of racial intelligence and as a result of the human genome project. Once you dehumanise a people, you in fact dehumanise everything about them.
    Three hundred years ago Christians used to say blacks had no soul; but modern day secular priests, scientists, now claim our differences are cultural/lifestyle/genetics. In other words, nature has made us the way we are.
    But have a look at the figures for previous days/weeks/months and compare them with now. Then we can extrapolate from that the causes of the increase or decrease or explain the similarity in numbers.


  22. Hal

    I repeat:

    Here is what you can do when you have got over your fears and are thinking rationally again.

    Get the data on the total number of deaths in the UK for the first four months of this year and compare it with the total number of deaths for the first four months in previous years.

    A death is a death, regardless of cause, regardless of what it says on the certificate.

    Just compare the number of deaths for the first 4 months of 2020 with the deaths for the first 4 months of 2019, 2018, 2017 etc.

    This is a simple rational suggestion.


  23. @ John April 21, 2020 7:21 AM
    “The realist in me says it was just like a normal flu and ran its course.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Why, then, do you allow the insanity in you to worship your god the Trumpeter of folly who is referring to the same “normal flu” as the “invisible enemy”?

    Are you seeing your hero in the WH as the modern-day Don Quixote of America and yourself, his sidekick, the Bajan Sancho Panza and mulatto Robin?

    The man with the false hair has been chomping at the bits for a war with an imaginary enemy.

    Like the ghost of Banquo paying a visit to Macbeth, the Trumpeter and king of braggadocio now has a real war on his hands with an invisible foe called the apparition of Gen. Covid Soleimani.


  24. @ Quaker John

    You have the Bajan habit of anticipating people’s mind. I said people in the UK were scared, you have somehow interpreted that as meaning I am scared. I am not.
    It is none of your business, but my funeral plan was a part of my retirement plan, including a medical power of attorney and instructions not to resuscitate if anything unfortunate happens to me.
    I have also planned my funeral, a Christian one, which is tweaked occasionally, with the changing of hymns and additional passages from the Bible. I have also asked a friend, a retired clergyman, to take the funeral if I die before him. He agreed to. I am fearless, prepared for the final day whenever it comes. In that, I am like my mother, who went to her grave with great dignity.
    My mother died in a Brooklyn hospital and I was at her bedside (ironically, her nurse was a Barbadian married to a young man from the Ivy) and the only thing she asked for occasionally were painkillers. It left a lasting impression on me.


  25. Hal Austin
    April 20, 2020 3:02 PM

    @Quaker John, the people in the UK are scared. They cannot afford to Google and play little mind games.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Every time they watch the Telly they are playing little mind games with experts who are yet to be right.

    No wonder they are petrified, I would be too … if I had a Telly … and actually watched it!!


  26. David, re. my 6:13 am post I forgot to mention a key fact. That is that it is possible that our perpetual summer condition of relatively high temperatures, reasonably long sunlight hours, etc. might be acting to somewhat ameliorate the virulence and severity of Covid-19. This simple possibility can be used to develop a strategy for getting our traditional tourists from Europe and the US back in a shorter time frame than most posters here deem likely.


  27. Hal Austin
    April 21, 2020 8:49 AM

    I have also asked a friend, a retired clergyman, to take the funeral if I die before him.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The two of you aren’t Quakers by any chance?


  28. @ Lyall Small April 21, 2020 11:13 PM

    It is like I said “wait and see.” It all comes back to the time slot 15-22 March, when it was not mandatory to quarantine persons. There is obviously a person Z in the community. I must admit your graphs do look impressive.


    • @Dr. Lucas

      The circumstances how the last case came to the public should be of grave concern to us all. Barbadians are being asked to make a sacrifice to contain the virus and if the press report is true that the medical team was careless processing the last reported case then we have to ask the CMO and Minister Bostic to explain themselves.


  29. @ David April 23, 2020 5:58 AM

    I haven’t read the press report. Accidents will happen especially when one is dealing with over worked and inadequately protected workers. I doubt it was carelessness. In any event there is a P.A.H.O report purporting to say that the numbers of infected persons is being under reported in this part of the world. It was just reported by V.O.B 8.00AM news that testing is being ramped up from fifty to six-hundred today. This ramping up tends to support my stance, that the authorities are trying to track down the persons I have been referring to Z, who made up those who were allowed into the island and not held in quarantine between 15-22 March 2020. I really do not believe the part you alluded to about ‘careless processing.” I think that there is a search on for a fall-guy.


  30. @ David April 23, 2020 8:33 AM

    Some one seemed to have dropped the ball, but at that time there was a shortage of every thing. It does not however discard my point. First of all the government worker who infected this particular person, where was she exposed to the virus if she never left the island? It seems that every thing points toward the time slot of 15-22 March 2020. Apparently it is proposed to test six-hundred persons today according to 8.00AM V.O.B news and requests have made for retired Defense personnel to help in the tracking process. It is obviously hoped to nip things in the bud. Despite some errors a reasonable good job has been done considering the constraints.


    • @Dr. Lucas

      The comment is not meant to be destructively critical, more about being transparency with discussion.


  31. ….. from other blog…

    @David, I see now that the article referred above was noted on [this] blog, […]

    I understand the ‘anger’ of the family but I come away with the same sense of hopelessness for the loss of commonsense as I did when I listened to the interview of the Bajan-Brit who has recovered from cov19 but whose mum, aunt and brother remain infected.

    I am not beating up on anyone… I look at these matters as ‘what would I have done in either of those instances – as a well informed, concerned Bajan – …. without being prolix, I surely would have been a bit more careful and doubly cautious with my elderly mum around…. I would have quarantined here in her room and cared for her with an expectation that she was infected (masked up, no contact with others unnecessarily, cleaning regularly etc etc) until Paragon came or I took her there.

    We can blame the govt all we want on their response tactics but good lord all this data presented DAILY is for us to act SENSIBLY when confronted by possible infections …in short ANY flu symptoms should be handled as cov19 until proven otherwise.

    In neither of the cases highlighted did the relatives display that level of blunt reasoning …it seems to me. That’s unfortunate and distressing and one wonders what are we actually INTERPRETING and UNDERSTANDING from all these warnings.

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