How Medicine Got COVID Safety So Wrong and What to Do Now

On two occasions (here and here) in 2020, I used the term "miasma" when discussing medical officials' inexplicable advice to the public pertaining to COVID. In the earlier of the two pieces, I wrote:
My point was that the advice they were giving was appropriate if COVID spread through contaminated air. But Dr. Fauci, CDC and WMO were confusingly telling us that it spread through "droplets" (there are many other articles in addition to the one at the link that state the droplet hypothesis). The two -- droplets vs contaminated air -- are contradictory in the way transmission occurs and how to protect ourselves. 

In a fascinating investigative report in Wired, it turns out the miasma theory is correct when it comes preventing the spread of COVID in the sense that airborne coronavirus virons (small enough to be aerosols* -- a term also used in meteorology) suspended in the air create an invisible cloud of "bad air." Spend enough time in it and you are at serious risk of contracting COVID -- regardless of whether you ever get within six feet of someone with the disease.

To quote the article,
 He seemed to view Wells’ ideas about airborne transmission as retrograde, seeing in them a slide back toward an ancient, irrational terror of bad air—the “miasma theory” that had prevailed for centuries. Langmuir dismissed them as little more than “interesting theoretical points.”

In other words, the medical establishment thought COVID could not spread through "bad air." Except, it does! Returning to the Wired article:

ON FRIDAY, APRIL 30, the WHO quietly updated a page on its website. In a section on how the coronavirus gets transmitted, the text now states that the virus can spread via aerosols.. As Zeynep Tufekci noted in The New York Times, perhaps the biggest news of the pandemic passed with no news conference, no big declaration. If you weren’t paying attention, it was easy to miss.

But Marr was paying attention. She couldn’t help but note the timing. She, Li, and two other aerosol scientists had just published an editorial in The BMJ, a top medical journal, entitled “Covid-19 Has Redefined Airborne Transmission.” For once, she hadn’t had to beg; the journal’s editors came to her. 

The prevailing advice we've been given: social distancing (3-6 ft.), frequently washing hands, et cetera, does almost nothing to prevent the spread of COVID. 

Based on what I have read in the Wired article and elsewhere, here is what I would do to prevent myself from getting or spreading the disease:
  • Excellent ventilation: with outside or specially filtered air. The notion, spread by several politicians, that you should not go outdoors due to COVID risk is absurd. The wide open outdoors is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Open windows. Use fans. Put fans in windows. 
  • Masks: But, if you want to really protect yourself, use an N-95 mask that is well-fitted. Paper masks are okay. Cloth masks do little or nothing
  • Ultraviolet lights: Years ago, I read that these are very effective -- a point also made in Wired  -- but had "fallen out of favor in the United States." The Wired article indicates that they are effective ways to kill disease. If you have an office or other place where people gather, look into it!
It is interesting that an atmospheric scientist helped to find the correct theory of COVID transmission. But, we can hardly pat ourselves on the back as some of us stubbornly rejected Dr. Fujita's downburst hypothesis. 

And, this isn't the first time the medical establishment has been stubbornly wrong about a scientific discovery that, if accepted based on its merits, would have saved millions of lives -- the new science that showed ulcers were caused by a bacterium rather than stress.  

In both of the above cases, and in many others, well-documented new science was fatally slow to be accepted because it turned the existing scientific "consensus" upside down. This is why you read me writing about how "consensus" in global warming is so dangerous. Science is about what can be demonstrated, reproduced and proven -- it is never about opinion. 

* Definition of aerosols: Tiny suspended solid particles (dust, smoke, etc.) or liquid droplets that enter the atmosphere from either natural or human (anthropogenic) sources. The key word is "suspended." They float in the air for considerable periods of time. 


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