I get a lot of questions from various countries where there are outbreaks that people don’t understand very well. Or that are assigned to the wrong cause (e.g. ‘the beaches are open again’ ). Lees meer
Door Fahmi Yigit
On June 2nd, the New York Times published an article called “Just stop the superspreading events”, which is completely in line with my findings from April about the great impact of superspreading events and that Covid-19 is actually spreading slowly outside those events.
These are the most important findings of the epidemiologists Adam and Cowling regarding the Covid-19 outbreak in Hong Kong. They investigated 1,038 infections in Hong Kong between January 23rd and April 28th and reported their results in this paper.
Their conclusions on 349 infections (the remaining 689 were infected elsewhere in China):
- 20% of those infected accounted for 80% of new infections. They all took place at social gatherings.
- 10% accounted for the remaining 20%. This meant that 1 or 2 people were infected, usually within the household.
- 70% of the infected persons, did not infect anyone else. The authors found this to be an astonishing outcome.
In addition, they mentioned other studies with more or less comparable results:
- The study in the province of Shenzen came to the conclusion that 80% of the infections were caused by 8 to 9% of the infected people.
- In Israel, a study found that 80% of the cases were due to less than 10% of all infected persons.
- In the case of SARS in Singapore it was found that 6% of the cases were responsible for 80% of the infections. 73% of the persons infected did not infect anyone.
- In Hong Kong, 331 SARS infections could be traced back to one person.
- For MERS in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, 14% of the cases accounted for 80% of the cases.
Not only they conclude that these superspreading events are part of the spread of COVID-19, but that they are the principal driving force behind the pandemic as well!
This is a selection of blogs where I came to the same conclusion:
– April 19: Kessel’s superspreading event on 5 March
– April 24: The spread of the virus is already virtually under control
– May 1: Meat processing industry: superspreading hot spots
– May 28: COVID-19 doesn’t spread that easily at all
Through research in Dutch municipalities where superspreading events did and did not take place before the Lockdown on 15 March, the same patterns can be seen as described by the two authors in the New York Times. Municipalities where a superspreading event had taken place, had on average a factor of 8 times as many infections and deaths as those where such an event had not taken place.
The final conclusion of the authors in the New York Times is that by preventing superspreading events, the spread of Covid-19 can be controlled. And they conclude: this can be done with an approach that has much less impact, socially and economically, than the lockdowns and the extreme form of social distancing that has been imposed on the world in recent months.
Their final sentence is: Forget about maintaining or reinstating drastic measures to control the spread of the virus in the event of new outbreaks. Focus only on stopping the super spread.
Although they don’t use the same name, they indicate that stopping the spread of the virus should not be done through a 1.5 meter society, but with measures to prevent the super spread.
The interview with Japanese professor Oshitami shows exactly the same. He is a member of the Japanese Intervention Cluster Group. This is the translation of the most important part:
“That fact not only made the contact research very inefficient, it was reminiscent of that other coronavirus from 2003: SARS. “That differs in many areas from Sars-CoV2, says Oshitani,” but SARS also turned out to be dependent on super-spreading events for its survival, with one person infecting many people at once and creating a cluster. “
Those clusters, the Japanese concluded, are key in tackling the virus. Oshitani was a member of the Cluster Intervention Group set up on February 25 by the Ministry of Health. The ministry changed the strategy of contact research by the Japanese GGDs: the focus was no longer on identifying and quarantining the contacts that a person who tested positive could have infected, but on finding out where this person had the infection. – what the Japanese call retrospective contact research.
For example, they identified one cluster after another, including in gyms, conference centers, restaurants, and karaoke bars – nearly all of them where people without masks gathered and talked or sang loudly. Also striking: the person who infected the others was not sick at the time and did not cough or sneeze. ‘This is how we came to our policy based on the three Cs: avoid closed (closed) spaces with poor ventilation, busy (crowded) places and intensive (close) contact such as close conversations,’ says Oshitani, ‘supplemented later by avoiding together. sing, talk loudly and make close efforts. “
The key to reducing the number of infections is not in applying the 1.5 meter society, but in ensuring that superspreading events do not happen!
But it means a lot more
One subject they don’t discuss in more detail in their article, is how the infection actually takes place. However, they do indicate that it takes place in enclosed spaces inside, with a lot of people present. But they do not express themselves about the method of transmission, via direct contact (as WHO/RIVM claim) or by air. These research results, partly thanks to statements by the OMT in the Netherlands and people like Prof. Voss, give a very clear answer. The OMT’s advice states the following as an argument that Covid-19 does not go by air: The reproduction number of Covid-19 is around 2.5. And then the OMT states:
“Virus diseases like measles, which are spread aerogenic through fine small droplets, have a much higher reproduction rate, between 12 and 20.”
In other words: Only if a lot of people are infected at the same time, this is evidence of small droplets floating in the air.
Let’s make some calculations based on the results of the New York Times article.
- The R0 of Covid-19 is 2.5. So that means that 1,000 people infect 2,500 other people.
- If 10% of the people infect 80% of the people, it means that (10% of 1,000=) 100 people infect (80% of 2,500=) 2,000 people. Then the R0 of this group is 2,000/100 = 20.
- If the remaining 90% infects the remaining 20%, 900 people still infect 500. Then the R0 of this group is 500/900= 0.6
The high R0 of the first group (1 person infects 20 others on average) strongly resembles that of measles. So then the only logical conclusion you can draw as OMT and Prof. Voss, is that in superspreading events the spread is by air and not by direct contact.
The Robert Koch Institute now also indicates that airborne contamination does take place (chapter 1, section on aerosoles, last paragraph):
“Even if a final assessment is currently difficult, the studies so far generally indicate that SARS-CoV-2 viruses can also be transmitted through aerosols in the social environment.”
In super-spreading events, where many are infected at the same time, it could hardly have happened otherwise than by air.
You need a lot of fantasy and a lack of logical thinking if you want to explain the contamination of 52 people by one other member of Seattle’s choir by transmission through direct contact. If you accept that with the measles (R0 between 12 and 18) the virus spreads by air, then you can’t draw any other conclusion that Covid-19 does the same with those superspreading events.
So that way we can conclude that 80% of all COVID-19 infections are airborne.
Also with Influenza there are studies from the past, which are about the airborne spread of the virus. Such as this study from 2013 with the title “Aerosol transmission is an important mode of influenza-A spread”.
The question remains however, how does this infection occurs in the remaining 20%? Are these mainly infections within the household because of direct contact?
But if the infection is airborne at superspreading events, why shouldn’t it be the same within the household?
The answer to this appears to be given by the important results of Prof. Streeck’s study in Heinsberg. If you are infected during a superspreading event, you are more seriously ill and have fewer symptoms than at home.
Long-term exposure to the virus in the air is the crux of the matter. From the lungs of an infected person the virus ends up in the lungs of not yet infected people. Not only do they breathe the minimum amount needed to become infected, but many people present breathe in a lot of virus (high viral load) and become quite sick from it.
At home the conditions for the virus are apparently less favorable to strike that way. There may be more ventilation. The patient talks less and certainly doesn’t sing. The not yet infected persons do not stay in a room with the floating virus long enough to get sick of it. That’s probably why the researchers in Hong Kong establish that 70% of the infected persons have not infected anyone else at home.
Airborne infection also explains why people are not infected when there is good ventilation. And why there are hardly any infections in the open air. Then the virus doesn’t float around a person long enough to breathe in enough virus and get sick of it. That’s why higher humidity works, because it prevents the virus from floating around for a long time. That’s why mouth protection works in indoor areas, because it considerably reduces the emission of virus particles that remain in the air for a long time.
This also means that contamination via direct contact plays virtually no role in the spread of Covid-19. The measure that really worked all over the world is the ban on meetings with larger groups of people. And not the fact that we have introduced social distancing (keeping the 1.5 meter distance in the Netherlands). These are also the conclusions of researchers from Hong Kong.
As long as the WHO and RIVM do not recognize this, we will not only keep the stranglehold of the 1.5 meter society around the neck of the economy and social structure, but we will also maintain a fundamentally unsafe situation. As a result, based on RIVM’s protocols, we are doing exactly what is (virtually) ineffective in preventing the spread of the disease and are gradually doing what increases the risk of superspreading events. (allowing meetings with people, without pointing out the need for good ventilation).
It is similar to the situation where you drive down a single track on an unguarded level crossing. The RIVM’s track says that you only have to look to the left in order not to be hit by a train. You do exactly that. You stop in front of the crossing and look carefully to the left. You don’t see anything coming, so you cross.
But then you are hit by the train coming from the right. It wasn’t in the RIVM’s track book, because that was the timetable from 2019.
If you don’t know why something goes wrong, you can’t take the right measures to prevent it. Lees meer
What always strikes me about the experts in the Dutch media is that they always follow the same pattern, “We don’t know, but…” . And then there comes another sentence, in which the average viewer/listener has to think how great the risk is of being infected.
On logical grounds, some of the dangers seems rather improbable. And then when I look for the empirical basis, it is nowhere to be found. Since the beginning of March more and more research is coming out about Covid-19, so we know better and better how Covid-19 is spreading.
But it strikes me, how little of these new findings the Dutch media get. Although that seems to change one baby step at the time.
That’s why I’ll give you a brief summary and a calculation.
- While WHO/RIVM still explicitly state that there is a considerable risk that you can become infected by touching surfaces, it now turns out that that chance is (virtually) nil. (So all that cleaning of those supermarket trolleys has made no sense at all). Prof. Streeck reported this at the beginning of April based on his research in Heinsberg. Now the American CDC (the counterpart of our RIVM) also indicates that the chance is small. My logical interpretation: if the spread of the virus through objects really were to occur regularly, it would be incomprehensible that patients’ roommates at home would not be infected much more.
- I’ve been saying for a long time that the chance of being infected outside is very small. (And draw the conclusion from that, that the infection is mainly -or even only- through the air). I did this on the basis of various studies from around the world, where time and again is concluded that contamination outdoors is virtually undetected. When I reported this via my blogs and via an interview in newspaper De Telegraaf, it was dismissed in the daily newscast Op1 as “an opinion”. But it was based on the presentation of the virologic lab of Home Security in the US where they literally said “Move activities outside”. Until this headline yesterday in newspaper De Volkskrant: “Research: hardly any chance of contamination outside”, after RIVM chief Van Dissel had said something in the Lower House about the smaller chance of contamination in the open air. He also stated:
“Research around the world has not shown that the chance of contamination outdoors is lower”. No, the chance of being infected outdoors is empirically virtually zero!
A little prediction: it won’t be long before it is confirmed that the majority of infections are airborne, contrary to the WHO/RIVM claim that this hardly ever happens.
I get a lot of mails from people, who, because of all the reporting from March onwards, have become anxious about the chance of being infected themselves. And because of my blogs and interviews on the internet, they have become calmer, because the danger is much smaller than they thought. That’s partly why I want to make the following sum to show how big (or better, how small) that chance is:
We have calculated that every hospital admission in the Netherlands represents almost 200 infected persons. In the meantime, the number of hospital admissions has dropped to about 10 per day. This is the RIVM’s current graph.
So if 10 hospital admissions are reported today, it would mean that about 10 days ago, 10 x 200 = 2,000 new infections took place.
Let’s assume for a moment that there were 2,000 new infections every day for the past 10 days (and I think it’s even less), what does that mean for the risk that those people infect you or me?
We know that it takes about 5 days before someone starts showing symptoms and can infect others. So every day there are 5 x 2,000 infected people who can infect someone else.
At the same time, we know that the reproduction factor is 1. We can also use that in this indicative calculation. Those 10,000 infected people will then on average infect 10,000 others.
Let’s assume that someone who is infected meets on average 5 people in those 5 days. I think that’s a low estimate. Some of them are sick at home and only meet a few people. But there are also a lot of people, who don’t even know they are contagious and they might meet quite a few others.
So (and I know it’s a weird way to put it like that) if you meet that infected person, then you have a 1 in 5 chance of being infected by that person.
Now we have all the ingredients to make the following calculation:
10,000 people a day who could infect others. And if you meet that person, you have a 1 in 5 chance that that person will infect you. So that gives the number 10,000/5 = 2,000.
The Netherlands has over 17 million inhabitants: 2,000 relates to 17 million is like 1 relate to 8,500. So that gives an indication of how small the chance is that you will be infected. To put it another way: of the 8,500 people you meet, 1 person will infect you.
I realize it may be a somewhat absurd way to calculate your chances of infection. Of course, it is also about what region you live in, what kind of work you do etc. But if you don’t belong to the profession with a higher chance of being infected (and in England you even have overviews of the professions of the deceased) then your risk of being infected is much lower.
I think a lot of Dutch people – also because of the way of reporting – think that their chances of being infected are many times higher. (And how proportional are all the measures that are taken, such as setting up a 1.5 meter society, and the major consequences that this has on the economy and society).
I wonder when politics in The Hague, the media and the citizens in the Netherlands, will wake up and realize how much over-reaction has taken place and how much damage we have caused ourselves. (More than a month ago I wrote this blog that we committed hara-kiri).
Two points in conclusion:
The meat processing industry: It’s always been said about the outbreaks in that industry that it’s because people work so close together. But 3 weeks ago I already wrote this blog about this subject. Because it’s significantly colder in those companies than in normal working environments, the conditions for aerosols to stay in the air for a long time are very favorable. That’s why you see outbreaks in and around those factories (where sometimes more than 1,000 employees are infected) almost everywhere in the world.
When I wrote that, I was also approached by people who set up cooling and ventilation systems at those factories, who confirmed the content of my blog. But yes, if you only acknowledge that the contamination is through direct contact, then you don’t recognize the great importance of ventilation in those factories and you don’t take the right measures.
The mink farms: I recently got an e-mail from someone who builds stables for years. He reported that the system of air ventilation (and temperature control) is very important to prevent the outbreak and spread of diseases. Because that happened quite often. He indicated that if they ensured that a lot of fresh outside air entered the barn, the chance of outbreaks of infectious diseases among the animals fell to almost zero. It wouldn’t surprise me if in those mink farms hardly any fresh air comes in and those animals get infected easily. (And the people who walk through those stables as well, because of the aerosols in the air).
That information was also confirmed by a number of people active in horticulture in greenhouses. They also told me that allowing fresh air significantly reduced the risk of plant infections).
It is important to know where that 1.5 meter which we hear so often, actually comes from. And how logical that rule is in the light of the recent studies, which have been carried out on Covid-19.
First of all, the WHO indicates on its website, that a distance of 1 meter should be maintained. But where does this distance of 1.5 metres actually come from?
In the literature on influenza it is stated that the transmission of that virus is mainly via droplets and direct contact. To a much lesser extent, this is indirectly via aerosols. These are tiny droplets that float through the air.
This diagram by Dr. Walter Hugentobler makes that very clear.
The Dutch RIVM (and all prominent virologists in the Netherlands) echo that the spread of Corona-19 happens via direct contact and if you stay at 1.5 meters distance there is very little risk. According to Prof. van Dissel of the RIVM, the impact of alternative transmission methods is very small.
From that perspective, keeping a distance is a good strategy. But how certain is it that the direct transmission of the Coronavirus within a radius of 1.5 metres of an infected person is indeed the prominent method of transmission?
The inexplicable seasonal patterns of influenza
Influenza has been studied a lot over the past 80 years. But if you look at those studies, there still appears to be a lot of uncertainty about how the transmission of the virus really takes place.
In 2014 there was a big congress in Dubai on infectious diseases. A doctor associated with the WHO gave a presentation on the search for an explanation for the differences in seasonal patterns in countries below 30 degrees North latitude.
You can tell when you read that presentation that they have absolutely not figured it out yet. It is best indicated with the text of this sheet.
All kinds of possible explanations come along in that report (slide 14 et seq.), but the author always observes that it is not a conclusive explanation for the differences in the patterns that exist. (Really recommendable to read).
But if that can’t be made appropriate, how can we be sure that the spread of the influenza virus is predominantly via direct contact forms within 1.5 meters of each other? That doesn’t really make sense.
With what we now know from scientific research into the spread of Covid-19, there are even more illogical matters. Just 5 questions:
- There are various studies that show that the contamination takes place much more indoors than outdoors. A score of 1 out of 350 is reported in China and 1 out of 20 in Japan. In his research in Heinsburg, Prof. Streeck found that the vast majority of the infections had also taken place indoors.
So the first logical question is: if direct transmission within 1.5 metres between two people is so dominant in the infection of others, why doesn’t it happen outside to about the same extent as inside? After all, we also meet many more strangers outside than inside, so that should lead to many more infections.
- At least four studies by Covid-19 show that housemates of a patient are much less infected than you would expect.(1) (2) (3) (4). In these four studies we see percentages between 5% and 35%. So the vast majority of household members were not infected. But that’s actually completely illogical. After all, within a household the 1.5 meter distance will have been observed much less, especially when it was not yet known that the patient’s symptoms were the result of a Covid-19 infection.
- On March 10, a choir rehearsal of 60 men took place near Seattle. They kept to the 1.5 meters, did not touch each other and used disinfectants. Three weeks later, 75% were infected, some were dead. Similar figures, which we also see in a choir in Amsterdam. Also 75% sick and some dead. But they didn’t hold 1.5 meters.
Prof Streeck’s research in Heinsberg showed that those who had been infected during the carnival meeting had become more seriously ill than those who had contracted the virus at home.
But how is that possible? How is it possible that at superspreading events a significantly higher percentage is infected than at home and that they are even sicker (16% of the infections without symptoms, 36% at home)? Is this compatible with the view that the vast majority of transmission occurs via direct 1-to-1 contact within 1.5 metres?
It gets even weirder when we also know that a large proportion of the infections occurred at superspread events before the lockdowns.
- A lot of people have been infected on naval and cruise ships. This also seems to be the case with quite a few care institutions. Could that really be because all those Navy people came within one and a half metres of an infected person? Or is there another reason?
- We repeatedly see footage of poor countries in Africa and refugee camps on television. Also how it goes in India. People who live shack by shanty and shanty by shanty. Even keeping a distance of 50 centimeters would be difficult there. For two months it’s been threateningly said “if it’s going to erupt here, it’s going to be a disaster…” . But that disaster didn’t happen. Not on Lesvos, not in Africa. In India there are now 2,000 deaths out of a population of more than 1.3 billion.
So these are already 5 different kinds of observations, so you can question the proposition, that the contamination mainly occurs through direct transmission within 1.5 meters. Together with the lack of explanation of seasonal flu patterns, there can only be one logical explanation.
“Influenza and COVID-19 transmission does not occur primarily through direct contact within 1.5 metres between one infected person and another”.
So what’s another logical explanation?
But how does it go? Based on recent studies, this is my hypothesis:
“The transmission of influenza and COVID-19 is almost entirely via aerosols. You breathe them in and with that the virus enters your body. You have to be exposed to it for a certain period of time, because otherwise you won’t be infected/not sick of it”.
This is an extensive article by Prof. Shelley Miller, which describes the aerosols well.
Let’s revisit the 5 questions and assume that the hypothesis is true:
- Because aerosols dissipate in the open air and do not stay in one place, people are almost never infected outside.
- Even if you have a patient at home, it does not have to be the case that the rest of the members of the household are infected by aerosols long enough. It may be due to ventilation and humidity in the house, or that one does not stay with the patient long enough and that the patient emits few aerosols.
- In superspreading events, you spend 2 to 4 hours in an enclosed space with the aerosols of an infected person. At home, there is usually much less time in a row or there is ventilation. So that’s why more people get sick at these events.
- Through internal ventilation systems, aerosols are spread over rooms and stay there for a long time. As a result, so many people present on ships and in care institutions become infected.
- In refugee camps, in Africa and India, people’s houses/tents are such that natural ventilation always takes place. Even if aerosols are ejected by an infected person, they do not remain there long enough to infect someone. That’s why we see so few infections there.
So this new hypothesis provides satisfactory answers to each of these five questions.
It would be marvellous if the large and year-long search by virologists and epidemiologists for an explanation of the seasonal patterns of influenza would also lead to results. Yet another proof that they were looking for this and found no explanation. This can be found in a paper from 2016.
So let’s see if with this hypothesis we can find an explanation for the start of an influenza epidemic in those areas. And I can already tell you, it’s been found.
So the hypothesis is, “you’ll be infected by aerosols, which will stay with you for a long time and breathe in enough to make you sick.”
- Infected north of the 30th parallel:
When the humidity is low, the aerosols remain in a poorly ventilated room for a long time. This condition only occurs in autumn or winter. This is when the flu epidemic occurs.
- In the rest of the world:
The humidity level is too high for an aerosol to stay indoors for long.
(Air conditioning is unfavorable, but if that happens in rooms where only one’s own family is present, it doesn’t lead to major outbreaks).
We see many different patterns of that flu outbreak:
– This study in India shows that the flu wave in Srinagar, in the north of the country, is only in winter (as is the case with us). There in winter the weather was about the same as in the Netherlands. In the much more southern Delhi was the flu wave during the monsoon (between July and September).
– In that same study from 2014 is a list of countries below 30 degrees North latitude with different patterns of the flu. In all countries, except near the equator, we see that the flu wave is there during the rainy season.
– But close to the equator we don’t see a clear pattern. Malaysia is mentioned as an example (also near the equator) and if one counts several years together, the picture becomes very diffuse.
How does the above fit into the hypothesis about the large role of the aerosols?
Manaus offers the explanation
I found that explanation in Manaus.
There are the daily figures for COVID-19 infections. Around March 19 the outbreak started. So something must have happened between 12 and 15 March. But what?
I found no major events. But something else. The graph below shows it. On Saturday morning, March 14, there were “heavy rains”:
From my experiences in Cuba with my in-laws, I know what happened. In the house (where there are no glass windows and the door is almost always open) live about 20 people. Sometimes you are with 8 people, sometimes with 4, sometimes with 12. People often live outside. And inside they try to keep a cool head by means of natural ventilation of the air, where everything is open. Plus some fans. Possible aerosols are driven out of the house so quickly and disappear. If they don’t precipitate quickly because of the high humidity.
Until it starts raining and storms and everyone flees into the house. The doors and windows still remain open. So still good ventilation.
But that’s not the case with such a heavy downpour. And I’ve heard that statement from an expert in that field. That’s how he described it
“In a rainstorm, an additional resistance will be created for air flowing in or out through an open window. So ventilation will become more difficult and this will get worse with more rain. The air has to go straight through the falling rain drops and this costs pressure drop, pressure of the air in front of and behind the rain screen”.
So when it rains hard there’s like a wall of water around the house. But there is more, and that seems to be the most important component. And that’s thunder. I remember very well how we used to unplug the TV and radio at home when there was a thunderstorm. Apparently that’s still wise. I certainly understand that poor people still do, because they are afraid that their device will break down (or a fire will break out).
So when it rains hard and it thunderstorms, in those countries they unplug the fan(s) they have. So that’s the only moment in those countries that the air indoors more or less stays still. The rainstorm closes off the escape of the air to the outside. And turning off the fan(s) ensures that the air remains fairly still in the house.
There is also an archive from the website where thunderstorms around the world are recorded. And if you go and look at Manaus it hasn’t been there for days in that period, but on the morning of March 14th.
The air in the house cannot flow through and there are no airflows in the house. If there is a person within the household who was already infected, that person can easily infect a large part of the 15 to 20 family members.
So these are the “distributed superspreading events” of the tropical regions. And from the information I got from Manaus, it appeared that after that there were a few more similar weather conditions and each time after that there was an increase in the number of victims.
Also in Guayaquil in Ecuador something similar was noticeable. There was a thunderstorm on the morning of Saturday 8 March. And below that, in Wikipedia, we read about the new infections in Ecuador (Los Rios is located north of Guyaquil and it had also ignited there):
Another possible relationship with the thunderstorm could be what I came across here. Prof. Galembeck has done research on the electrical charge of water droplets. He found that during a thunderstorm the electrical charge in the air changes. This could be another explanation for the fact that the aerosols, which normally do not float at high humidity, show a different behaviour during a thunderstorm and remain in the air. This is a paper about his research.
Which of the two explanations is the correct one needs further investigation, but it is obvious that this thunderstorm was the starting point of a super-preadevent in Manous and Guayaquit.
Therefore one could not see a pattern at the flu waves in the areas near the equator! If you look at the averages in a few years time, you don’t see the specific moments that triggered the outbreaks. Because maybe a year before, it didn’t thunderstorm on March 14th, but on March 28th or March 2nd!
And with this explanation you can suddenly explain the differences in the patterns of the flu waves in the tropical areas. The outbreak of flu and Covid-19 occurs when it rains heavily and thunderstorms…That’s the only moment that in those areas there is no air flow in the houses and also no fresh air from outside, because “the rain screen” blocks that fresh air as it were.
In conclusion: this hypothesis about infecting someone else with aerosols is much more robust than the one that the WHO and others have been working with for years, that it is almost only within 1.5 meters. A hypothesis that does answer the 5 questions asked above and also provides an elegant and complete explanation for the long sought-after holy grail of flu research.
The major consequences
This would show that the one and a half meters is much less important than how the aerosols move through the room and whether or not they can infect people. And that has major consequences for the approach to prevent contaminations.
If the WHO (and the CDC’s) do not take this information into account quickly, this could have major consequences. If the WHO indications are (partly) based on the wrong assumptions, this will lead to many more deaths worldwide and much more damage to the economy than is necessary.
Not only is the one and a half meter society nonsensical if it is mainly the aerosols that can cause problems indoors. Combating them is much simpler and the economic and social restrictions are much less drastic.
And what protection do mudguards provide if it is mainly the aerosols floating in the air that cause the contamination?
But in terms of human lives, these indications can also lead to major disasters. Take India. There’s not much going on there right now. But in a large part of India, the rainy season will start in two months’ time. And if you don’t know the risk indoors by then, there could be a lot of casualties. While the best advice for them is to take care of air circulation (via a ventilator or otherwise) when it rains heavily (and thunderstorms).
The big question is whether all those people who thought for so long that the contamination came almost exclusively from direct contact are now prepared to recognise that a dominant role of aerosols gives much better answers to the search for seasonal patterns and the results of the most recent studies.
But hopefully there are enough people in the medical world who are willing to face facts and logic and then do everything in their power to come up with the right approaches. Fortunately, this is already a website of a group of professors and doctors who call on the WHO to measure aerosols and humidity in their policy advice.
It will save a lot of people’s lives worldwide and it can help the economy and society all over the world to return to normal faster if WHO and the CDC’s take all this seriously
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