I am not a doctor, but I play one in this column. So, with that caveat, may I relay to you two items in the news this week relevant to the COVID debate.
New research reveals that cloth masks filter just 10% of exhaled aerosols, with many people not wearing coverings that fit their face properly. That’s the bottom line out of Canada. Here’s the nuance of the story:
“N95 or KN95 face masks may be the best way to avoid COVID-19 during crowded indoor events. That’s the recommendation from a new study reporting most cloth masks just don’t do the job when it comes to stopping the spread of coronavirus within enclosed spaces.”
Researchers quickly add that masks, while not super effective, do provide some benefit. A more critical fact in the debate is the quality of ventilation in buildings. Better ventilation means less chance for viral aerosols to linger.
“There is no question it is beneficial to wear any face covering, both for protection in close proximity and at a distance in a room,” says study leader Serhiy Yarusevych, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering, in a university release.
So, should you wear a mask indoors? Sure. I guess. Probably.
Secondly, I ran across this science story recently in the National Geographic and, frankly, I was not aware of the neurological or psychiatric symptoms associated with the virus. I think you will find this important:
“Hannah Davis contracted COVID-19 in March 2020, the early days of the pandemic. At the time, the New Yorker was a healthy, 32-year-old freelance data scientist and artist. But unlike many people who come down with the disease, Davis’s first sign of infection wasn’t a dry cough or fever. Her first symptom was that she couldn’t read a text message from a friend. She thought she was just tired, but the fuzziness she felt didn’t go away after a full night’s sleep.
“More neurological issues followed. She developed sudden and severe headaches. Her attention span suffered. She couldn’t watch TV or play video games. She had trouble concentrating on everyday tasks like cooking. She’d leave a pot on the stove and forget about it until she smelled food burning. She failed to look both ways while crossing the street, narrowly missing traffic. She’d never had any of these issues before COVID-19.
“Davis is among a large portion of COVID-19 patients—possibly as high as 30 percent, according to an estimate from the National Institutes of Health—who suffer some type of neurological or psychiatric symptoms. Even more troubling is that for many of these individuals, like Davis, these cognitive issues can linger for weeks or months after the initial infection.”
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO
May I recommend the podcast “Bear Grease” for your next Nevada road trip. In particular, try episode 4 entitled “Death of a Bear Hunter.” The storyteller in the podcast, Clay Newcomb, is an interesting fellow, especially if you like hunting and the pioneer era of American history.
ONE MORE THING
— When you’re feeling low, remember there’s someone meeting your ex right now thinking they’ve found someone special.
— A rancher friend asked me what he should name the colt of his prize horse, “Red Wine.” I said “Caberneigh.” I still laugh when I think about it. I am my target audience.
— All men are cremated equal.
— The inventor of the doorbell did not live with a Chihuahua.
Thanks for reading. Until next time around, please take the time to laugh a little every day, be kind in all that you do, and always question authority.
(Sherman Frederick is a longtime Nevada journalist and co-owner of Battle Born Media newspapers. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.