Popular UK nurse teacher Dr. John Campbell’s tips. Scientist Paul Beckwith says Canada blundered into disaster, and clearing air could release 25 years worth of warming – this spring or summer. I’m Alex Smith. Here we go.
REAL HELP FROM DR. JOHN CAMPBELL
Dr. Campbell discusses several countries, but let us begin with his own: the UK. In the Middle of March, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested COVID-19 was not all that serious. The government would let the disease burn through the population until some sort of herd immunity was reached. Hundreds of scientists and medical professionals objected. That deadly idea barely lasted a weekend. But as in the United States, valuable time was lost as top leadership did not get the population to self-isolate.
The Cheltenham Festival is a meeting in the National Hunt horse racing calendar in the United Kingdom. Despite the plague in Italy where over 1,000 had already died, and COVID-19 deaths in the United Kingdom, the races took place in front of two hundred and fifty one thousand crowded fans on March 12. How could that happen? It appears too many people in the United Kingdom really thought they were an island, separated from the plague cutting down thousands in Italy and Spain. Countless British people have second homes in Spain, or take holidays there, and returned, some with the illness. Now tragedy has landed in the United Kingdom. I’m thinking of my many friends and relatives there.
With his extensive experience teaching nurses all over the world, John Campbell is in a unique position. With almost half a million YouTube viewers, he receives tips from many in the medical community, even from Iran. He shares with us in this second interview.
Listen to or download this half hour interview with Dr. John Campbell in CD Quality
We don’t know whether the hospital systems will hold up. If we get serious complications, like pneumonia, will the health care system be too overwhelmed to help us? So I asked John directly, as an experienced nurse and nurse teacher, for a few tips on how we could try and cope at home. He told us that the most serious cases can only be saved in hospitals, especially those who run out of oxygen, as the virus floods our lungs. But trying to cope, at least we can keep sitting up, or lie on our stomachs – but do not lie flat on the back, he tells us. Hydration is key (I’ve heard we need to drink liquids every 20 minutes during the illness).
You need the liquids to keep mucus thin enough to get infected cells out. Stop smoking now – it paralyzes the Cilia, leaving infection down below in the lungs, instead of expectorated (coughing or spitting them out).
HOW MIGHT THIS PANDEMIC END?
We all want to know how this nightmare could possibly end. Let me suggest a few endings,. We are told it takes about 80% of people with immunity to contain this disease. We might reach that absolutely huge number, billions of people, with a vaccine – I would say in a minimum of a year and half or two years, just considering we do not have a vaccine, and producing and delivering so many shots is a mammoth undertaking, during a time when the world economy is collapsing, and possibly some governments fall as well.
Or we may manage to stretch this out over a few years, flattening the curve, saving as many as we can in hospitals, trying to maintain civilization while that happens. We may go absolutely medieval with city states closing their gates to strangers, or something. Or the disease could defeat us, burning through the world’s population leaving the grieving survivors who attained immunity, and a badly damaged civilization. As I have said before, that horrible turning point could at least help us avoid the next killer pandemic: rapid climate change.
HOW LONG THE VIRUS CAN SURVIVE OUTSIDE THE HUMAN BODY
American news outlets, CNBC and Bloomberg, seemed to report that the novel Corona Virus was found on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship up to 17 days after the ship was vacated, based on a CDC study. Obviously it would be alarming if this virus can stay infectious that long.
Here is what the Center for Disease Control Study said in a paper published March 23:
“SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted (Takuya Yamagishi, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, personal communication, 2020).”
That does not sound like they found a live virus, or at least an infectious one, 17 days later. They likely found traces of RNA from the virus, which would not be that alarming, given bits of the RNA could last hundreds of years without offering any harm. Chris Martenson covers this at 25:28 in his video, March 24.
I wish the CDC had been more clear, but for now, I am sticking with the results of almost all other research saying:
1. the COVID-19 virus cannot live very long outside the human body
2. it can travel about 3 feet, 1 meter, in the air during normal conversation
3. with a cough, a sneeze, an exhalation (like a big sigh), or a laugh, the virus can go up to 25 feet (8 meters) in a matter of seconds.
4. in microscopic droplets, the virus can hang in the air for up to 3 hours (!!)
5. when falling on to surfaces, the virus can last up to 24 hours on paper, and up to 9 days on hard surfaces like metal, or plastic.
Those are guidelines I use, compiled from multiple sources and based on scientific studies. Sure the science is still fluid, the papers have not had time for peer review, and we are still learning. But most agree on the points above.
Finally, everybody – even you! – should wear a face mask when out where other humans might be. While a medical-grade N95 mask is best, an ordinary surgical mask will help, and even a scarf or bits of clothing will limit the spread to others. People I know have a hard time getting the idea that they can feel perfectly fine, in great shape, and be carriers of the virus, spreading it unwittingly to friends, to everyone. That is one reason why this virus is so successful. We will learn that lesson the hardest way. It would take a miracle to avoid millions of deaths during this pandemic.
A COLOSSAL BLUNDER HITS CANADA: PAUL BECKWITH
I called our regular scientist correspondent Paul Beckwith to discuss his three part-video on whether we can expect extreme heat events as the industrial shut-down lowers air pollution. I think that could happen. It is important. But first – Paul blew me away by predicting Canada is not an oasis from the Corona pandemic developing just south of the border. He says Canadians made “colossal blunders” that could cost us dearly in weeks to come.
Listen to or download this Radio Ecoshock interview with Paul Beckwith in CD Quality
Paul explains that old adage from the Middle Ages, about travel and the plague. If the plague is happening, do not travel, stay home. If you traveling in a country which has the plague, stay there, do not go home. That is the rule from the Middle Ages, and we broke that rule over and over again, in almost every country. Whether it is the Chinese New Year travel, Spring Break for students, or “snowbirds” returning home – that mass travel helped inflate the numbers of seriously sick and dying people. One in 37 Canadians, almost 3% of the population, returned from March holidays, many from Florida. For weeks, as far as I can tell, none of them were tested or quarantined on their return. 470 million migrant workers are walking to their home villages across India due to the end of their jobs and food supply during lock down.
Of course there were masses of humans already flying around the world for tourism and business. Diagrams of airplane travel, even during this pandemic, are mind-blowing. The weak World Health Organization still said it was safe to fly in February, long after COVID-19 had spread beyond Asia.
Cruise ships became deadly, and there are still a half dozen of them floating around with thousands of passengers, getting sicker, and refused entry at ports in several countries. The newest installment are the military cruise ships, like the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier now stuck at Guam. There are 5,000 crew on board, in close quarters, eating together in mess halls, and COVID cases are doubling daily. No ship is safe now, not even the military. At least they are getting those sailors off the ship.
By the end of this summer, I think we will see more internal migration in North America – and perhaps in other countries – as the economy forces some families to consolidate wherever they can best survive a long term Depression – worse than the 1930’s. My own kids may move back in, where our home is paid for, and we can grow food. If that internal migration happens, we can expect the disease to move with it.
I just saw a feature on local news in the Okanagan valley of British Columbia. A man from the building trade said construction workers are “essential workers”. So they have to keep coming to work and building new condo towers in Kelowna. There is nothing essential about that. The local farm lobby just got the Canadian government to allow 100,000 guest agricultural workers, mostly from Mexico, to get in too. It shows how un-seriously Canadians still are in dealing with the new reality.
I saw a chart comparing the number of Intensive Care Unit beds in Canada per million people, compared to other industrialized countries. Canada are way down at the bottom. Is that because Canadians did not need as many ICU beds, due to our public health care system, or what? We are totally unready for the wave of patients about to hit Canadian hospital systems.
The government of Canada has not built emergency hospitals and is very slow to gear up industry to make ventilators, much less masks. It is simply proven that populations used to wearing face masks, mainly due to pollution as in Asia, are better equipped socially to have everyone wear masks. In North America there is very strong social pressure not to wear them, and against anyone who does. This is not a survival trait during a pandemic. No one should go out without a mask. While on TV, the Prime Minister should put one on. All our Police and any public workers should have been wearing them for weeks. Police are already getting sick, and many more will. We are not equipping anyone yet.
Isn’t it marvelous how our mental self protection lets us believe that mass illness and deaths across a border, in a neighboring city or country, will not travel to our city or country? Not just Canadians, but people all over the world have struggled to deny this pandemic is coming to them, or that it only kills old people, or they can’t get it because they are so healthy. We can talk ourselves out of anything. The disease doesn’t care what you believe.
Some Canadians worry: will sick Americans, fearing an armed social breakdown, flood across into Canada, bringing even more cases of the virus with them?
THE CHINA FACTOR
In a recent video, Paul Beckwith showed an article which claims the outbreak in Northern Italy may be due to the high number of temporary Chinese workers in the fashion industry there. Frankly the American Spectator is a right-wing source and not very credible. Yet other reputable news articles do say there were over 100,000 Chinese fashion workers in Northern Italy, and many of them flew back to China for their New Year, while the disease was raging – and then flew back to Italy. We also know that Iran was hit early and hard. They are also a client state for China, especially after the crippling U.S sanctions. Maybe there is another link there.
But in the age of air travel, a pandemic is literally a two-way street. China now says most of its new infections are from citizens bringing it back from other countries. I think we can’t beat this in until all international air travel, including private business jets, are halted.
GLOBAL DIMMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Let’s switch to the subject Paul and I know best: climate change. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just announced a 15 billion dollar bailout package for the Canadian oil and gas sector. The Tar Sands operations are bleeding money daily, now that Alberta heavy crude is selling for about five dollars a barrel, about the price of a cup of coffee. Despite the need for support from the Greens to keep on governing, it sounds like Trudeau’s liberals are committed to continuing to wreck the climate, not save it.
Some apologists for the oil industry claim we must keep burning fossil fuels or the world will experience severe heat. They says global dimming is protecting us, and we need pollution to do that. Paul looked into this with three YouTube videos. He finds the amount of warming triggered by cleaner air is not going to be disastrous. It will just add to the heating we expect because we overloaded the atmosphere with greenhouse gases already.
Global dimming is certainly real. I still think we should watch out for extreme heat events this summer, just from the high carbon counts in the atmosphere from previous fossil burning. I’m nervous that one or more bread basket regions could be hit by heat or drought, endangering the world food supply. The temporary clean air during the shut-down makes that more likely. This is a year when we need to get lucky, but we have already stacked the odds against that. There has already been record heat in various parts of the world, including the U.S. south.
A Reddit post says
“Funny how everything they said was ‘too extreme’ to do for climate change is done in an instant for C19.”
It is crazy isn’t it?
Last week even the United Nations said they were postponing their climate activities to focus on the current Pandemic. That is understandable. You and I are doing that too. But as Paul says, the temporary clearing of the air is not going to stop continuing warming of this planet. The Poles will keep melting, sea levels will keep rising, and we will have severe weather striking again and again, not to mention deadly heat waves. Can we afford to take a few months, or even a year or two, off from the battle to contain a pandemic of climate change?
Today I transplanted seven squash plants and a lot of Brassicas, like broccoli. Our geothermal greenhouse is really paying off. Despite cold nights well below freezing, a single fan from the pipes below keeps plants in good health inside. The days have been bright and hot (heading to 90 degrees F, over 30 C during the afternoon). I will be canning soup tonight. These are busy times, trying to plan for an economy in free-fall, and a society locked up. I am still grateful to be alive, and thankful for you as a blog reader and listener. You keep me calling up information we all need to know. Next week I plan to call up a number of non-profit radio hosts, in several countries, to get their view on Coronavirus and social coping.
My special thanks to everyone who supports this radio program and podcast. This is listener-supported media. Find out how you can help here.
Hang in there. One day this will be over, or at least we will learn how to live again in a world with a microcosm, and the reality of natural systems. Please be kind to yourself and others.