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I CORONAVIRUS FAQ (3 April 2020)

Some of the most natural and practical questions to ask start as follows.

Question a) Where one can catch the virus from?

Answer a.i) A first answer is people. That is why there is social distancing.

This presently involves staying between 1 and 2 metres away from other people. Some governments are recommending this.

Answer a.ii) A more specific answer is from people coughing or sneezing.

This produces small droplets. If coming from an infected person, these may well contain the virus.

This can cause the virus to get on the infected person's hands, and on to nearby objects as well.

Answer a.iii) It being on peoples' hands then gives a further means for the virus to get on to whatever people often handle.

In this way it may get onto uninfected peoples' hands. From there, it may infect that person, especially if they touch then their face.

Answer a.iv) People often touch their own face. This is often without thinking about it. To scratch an itch. Sneeze. Mop up sweat. To adjust their hair. Or to get a bit of dust out of their eye...

Touching the face is a problem because this virus is a respiratory virus. Touch your mouth, nose, or eyes and it will find its own way from there to your lungs.

Question b) So what do people often touch in going about our daily lives?

Preliminary Answer 1: In general, this would be a very long list. Let us thus concentrate on people going around doing the essential things.

Only being allowed to do essential things cuts down on the list of places one may get the virus from...

Answer b.i) Distinguish also between things you carry and what there is in each of the main places you go.

E.g. no matter where a person is, they would often touch their phone, wallet, touch screen, keys, handbag, headphones...

These are now things to be avoided as much as possible while out shopping.

Answer b.ii) In buildings, people also often touch door handles, drawer handles, light switches and buzzers.

Answer b.iii) In supermarkets, people also handle trolleys, baskets, items they may not buy, cash and credit cards, card payment buttons, as well as the bags used to transport the goods away.

Answer b.iv) In the streets, little is touched apart from doors in entering or leaving the street.

Answer b.v) In using a car, the driver handles the wheel and other controls, and passengers often at least passively touch seats. Car door handles are touched too.

Answer In using public transport, bannisters, buttons, places to hold onto when aboard, ticket machines... are places one often puts one's hands.

Answer b.vii) In an essential job workplace, it varies a lot with the profession.

Suppose using your own phone or touchscreen is inevitable here. Then it is suggested you clean these before they enter (any distance into) your home.

You may then need to list and decontaminate 'work equipment you carry from home', so that it gets systematically cleaned after each outing.

You might instead use a separate set that stays at work, while your usual set stays at home. (Assuming you have enough resources for this to be practical option.)

Question c So how does wearing gloves help?

Preliminary point Rubber gloves will do. Leather gloves might do, but are not disposable. Cloth gloves will not do: they are not waterproof.

Answer c.i) Suppose you are already infected. Then wearing gloves stops you infecting every surface you touch.

Answer c.ii) Suppose you are not infected. Then it means that, when you happen to touch and infected surface, nothing you touch past where you remove and discard the gloves will be contaminated. Until this point, once you have touched something contaminated, your gloves will infect everything else they touch.

Principle A One cannot tell which surfaces are infected.

On the one hand, the virus is tiny enough to live in droplets too small for the human eye to see.

On the other hand, most surfaces that look or feel wet or sticky surfaces will not contain the virus.

Each surface which is noticeably wet or sticky has a much larger chance of containing the virus, however, than each surface in the much larger collection of not noticeably wet or sticky surfaces.

So one is to avoid contact with visibly wet or sticky surfaces.

Further down this document, we will roughly estimate what proportion of surfaces are contaminated.

Multiply this proportion by how many surfaces one touches on a shopping trip or a use of public transport to obtain a fairly large chance of encountering at least one contaminated surface during a shopping trip.

By this, wearing suitable gloves is advisable.

Question d) So how does wearing a mask help?

Answer d.i) If you are infected, it drastically reduces the range over which droplets go when you cough or sneeze.

Answer d.ii) If not, it offers partial protection if someone suddenly coughs in your general direction. Especially from 1 or 2 metres away.

Question e) How does wearing a mask not help?

Answer e.i) If you know you are infected, you should not be walking around town in the first place.

Answer e.ii) Putting on a mask may cause you to touch your face.

Answer e.iii) Masks only last a certain amount of time: contamination and wear-and tear.

Further down this document, we will put rough numbers to this.

For now, if everyone used a new mask every day, there might not be enough masks for vulnerable people, medics and relief volunteers.

Given a bit more time, however, there is hope for mass-produced masks to flood the market. Or even for such to be part of free government handouts.

To this end, further down this document we will also estimate how many masks are out there at present.

Combining this information and how long masks last, we will estimate how many masks there would need to be in a country for all inhabitants to make routine use of these without depriving others.

Question f) How do I know I am infected?

Answer f.i) If you have a high temperature or a persistent cough, you may be.

But a high proportion of infected people feel few or no symptoms.

Sometimes they are days away from having symptoms, other times no symptoms ever show up.

Your government may be supplying free and widely available tests. These can show you are infected. In some cases, they can show that you were infected at some point but have ceased to be infected.

Answer f.ii) So in a country with mass testing, one can be sure one has the disease.

Answer f.iii) In a country without mass testing, only a small proportion of those infected will feel ill enough to become aware they have a disease.

Finally, some of those with fever or coughs will just have colds or flu: less dangerous diseases at present.

This is less dangerous to humanity; flu nonetheless kills 100000+ older people every winter. We detail this comparison below in sections II and III. % See there and *Question 25* for why the current coronavirus is more dangerous than any of the world's flus since the 1919 flu pandemic.

Question g) How do some tests know I used to be infected?

Answer g.i) because having a viral disease causes antibodies specific to that disease to build up in the blood. These antibodies stay there long after one has recovered from that disease.

Question h) How do I get any invisible virus on my hands off my hands?

Answer h.i) Wash with soap: 20 seconds minimum.

[Whether the soap is antibacterial is not immediately relevant, since viruses are very different from bacteria. What soap does is cause all tiny things on hands or whatever else is being washed to be stripped off.]

Do this immediately when you get home. This is so you don't compromise the light switches, drawer handles... inside your home, or everything else in there that you touch: clothes, cutlery, food...

Question i) So I wash my hands and then handle the shopping which might itself have virus on it?

Answer i.i) Yes it might, but it is more likely your hands (or gloves) have it on them, so deal with that first. Answer i.ii) You've not yet finished keeping your home safer, however.

Some governments are suggesting leaving purchases outside for 3 days.

There are however a lot of problems with this.

Some of the food might go off. It might be stolen. It might contravene fire regulations.

It makes more sense to put purchases that do not go off into a cupboard or drawer just inside your apartment door.

Dealing with food that needs refrigeration specifically is more problematic: see Item IV.6.

Question j) Discarding rubber gloves after each batch of shopping gets home, and isolating purchases for some time near the inside of my appartment door sounds like it may take a while?

Answer j.i) So does queuing to get into supermarkets.

Shopping trips have become more time-consuming.

This means that, until wartime-like rationing is imposed, it makes sense to shop more but less often.

In doing this, one should not however buy more stuff that goes off than should be eaten.

It is also not an excuse to buy in excess to the extent that other customers find no essential products.

They may be more vulnerable than you, or be doctors, nurses or relief volunteers that are saving many lives.

It is just a case that buying 2 weeks' worth, with enough of it nonperishable that none of it goes off, once every two weeks, is more effective than buying the same amount in total but split up over half a dozen shopping trips.

This is because in this way you are exposed to six times fewer streets. Six times fewer supermarkets. And you use six times fewer gloves and masks and so on.

Answer j.ii) It also means that you can be thoughtful and careful in disposing of the gloves. In washing hands before and after handling the bought goods inside your house, and so on.

Answer j.iii) It also means that if you live with your elderly mother, you can shop rather than her doing part of the shopping. This way she is not exposed to streets or supermarkets.

Being careful with goods incoming to your house keeps all its residents safer.

Principle B One idea being developed here is having a simple 'decontamination zone' and 'decontamination procedure' for incoming goods and people.

It makes good sense for your coat that you wear to go to supermarkets either stays in a decontamination area instead of being worn around your house, or is decontaminated after each trip by washing it at suitably high temperature.

This principle occurs early on in this manual to show that we are pretty serious about developing systematic procedures to stay safer that people can use without need for large amounts of money, already existing suitable facilities and so on.


Motivation Our aim here is to to identify the most fundamental questions to ask.

Many, if not all, fundamental questions are of one or more of the following types.

Primary questions: these are particularly conceptually significant first questions to ask.

Core questions: those leading to main points for understanding a pandemic like this one.

Research avenues: very relevant questions which beget large amounts of also relevant questions.

Note that all of primary, core and research avenue questions can be much more counterintuitive that Item I's practical questions.

Moreover, finding and answering primary, core and some research avenue questions provides beneficial payback though giving better as well as better-justified answers to the practical questions.

Target audience This Item II is mostly aimed at people with PhDs. Or who may one day have PhDs. And/or who have means of encouraging or prioritizing between what universtiy and private labs, hospitals, militaries and so on do as regards experiments, engineering and mass production. So e.g. politicians, civil servants, funding agencies, boards of directors and so on are part of the target audience as well.

Better answers to the practical questions follow in Items IV and V. Item IV details how Item II's questions, and Item III's answers to some of these questions, convert to answering practical questions about personal strategies to avoid infection or infecting others. Item V concerns how these questions, answers and strategies account give reasonable answers (not necessarily the only answers!) to why government policies are the way they are, or evolve to be the way they become.

None the less, we do include some explanations by which members of the public can follow at least some parts of Item II.

This is possible because highly true things tend to be fairly straightforward to explain, once they have been spotted...

Explanation for the general public is moreover a good idea from the point of view of being supportive of genuinely helpful research.

This is from finding the right principles and models which fit the many observed facts, through to new or updated tech products, and mass-production of cheap or free goods that make a substantial difference.

You will get a feel from these documents here that everybody can ask questions.

Some of these can be quickly confirmed by people for themselves using household objects.

Other questions however require a science lab with both samples of the virus and safe means of conducting accurate experiments on it.


II.0 Risk analysis

Principle R.0 Risks can be well modelled as rectangles of the following form.

Risk = (how likely it is) x (how much damage it would do if it occurs) .

This definition can on the one hand be made more rigorous. E.g. by 'how likely it is' being replaced by a first course in probability's 'expectation for the occurrence of'.

On the other hand, it is not a unique definition, because there are multiple possible quantifiers of damage done. This could for instance be damage in dollars, or some other currency unit. It could also be damage in person-hours of work lost, however, or damage in terms of lost lives. Even then, say for person-hours of work lost, there are various possible quantifiers that could differ substantially. One could for instance consider person-hours lost in terms of a 4-month lockdown. But also could be viewed as that plus all subsequent work-hours lost due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in front-line staff, patients, and relatives.

We will not here choose between these various quantifiers of damage. Our point is rather that within a given risk analysis, risks only make sense if the same notion of damage is used for the various risks being compared.

I.e. risk analysis is really about the ratios between risk rectangle areas. By this the notion (and units) for damage cancel out. So everything is then consistent within that particular risk analysis.

Many situations in life require a risk analysis. Employers do these so as to get insurance. How a budget is split between various needs is done (more prudently if) by risk analysis. For sure, a new crisis requires its own risk analysis.

Principle R.1 Risk analysis is a way of finding main issues while filtering out other suggestions. It is important to note in this regard that most people fail to spot improbable risks whose damage upon occurrence, however, is so large that it drowns out the improbability.

I.e. some large risks are tall and thin: thin as regards being improbable while tall in damage.

This is in addition to the usually more obvious short and wide risks: likely occurrences that people have often experienced, each occurrence of which causes minor damage.

An example of a short and wide risk is being kicked in the shin if you play football.

An example of a tall and thin risk is a terrorist attack in any particular city in the West.

Finally some risks can be large by being roughly square: somewhat tall and somewhat wide.

An example of this is cycling or motor vehicle accidents. Adults have probably seen dozens of these and have maybe been in one or two themselves. So these are quite common. But also people are quite often hospitalized and sometimes killed, and some of the vehicles involved need writing off: so the damage is rather large as well.

Be welcome to calculate, dear reader, how much more likely it is in your city to die from a traffic accident than from terrorism.

Remember also that 'be careful with the traffic' is probably one of the top two or three cautions parents make to children; risk analysis substantiates this to be a rational priority.

We need risk analysis before to help us find (some of) the most relevant short-term factors in the current crisis.

In particular some improbable things may cause enough damage on occurrence that they cannot be ignored.


II.1 Pandemics: pathogens, transmission vectors and multi-piece populations

As Section VIII argues at the level of long-term consequences, pandemics are one of the three main types of sudden crises, the others being war and famine.

This can be summarized by 'War, Famine and Pestilence are the three horsemen of the apocalypse'. This is not just a saying, it is firstly a classification of sudden disasters. Secondly, it is a historically observed correlation: each of these three can generate the other two as well as more of itself.

Pandemics are caused by pathogens: microbes that proliferate in humans and harm them in the process. Microbes are far too small to see with the naked eye. So most historical pandemics occurred before people even knew that small external biological entities caused them. Without knowing this, very few pandemics had any known effective cures. Nor was how each pandemic was transmitted knows, without which one could scarcely personally strategize or issue government guidelines. Some strategies and guidelines did already exist however.

Strategy A) self-isolation.

Strategy B) Barring city gates so nobody could get in: avoid the disease entering the city.

Strategy C) Barring city gates so nobody could get out: avoid spreading the disease to other cities.

Strategy D) disposing of the dead with more precaution than usual (transporting them away and/or burning them).

For there was enough evidence that people spread it to each other, if not exactly how, or how directly.

(Transmission) vectors are mechanisms by which a disease spreads. Some diseases involve these, whereas other do not (not infectious: e.g. cancer is not infectious).

Person to person is a vector.

The bubonic plague, however, spread via rats and rat fleas rather than directly from person to person. This vector was hard for humanity to guess.

Spreading from person to surface to person is another vector.

This is relevant if:

i) the pathogen can live outside of a host body for some hours or days.

ii) The pathogen is not so effective at passing directly from person to person. E.g. can touching skin transmit it effectively, or just coughing?

A useful background point here is that there are 2 particular kinds of pathogens that cause pandemics: bacteria and viruses.

Bacteria can reproduce without assistance of host cells. So if one gets into a puddle or a sticky door knob surface, it can increase its numbers there very fast (exponentially until nutrients start to run out).

Viruses -such as Covid-19- need host cells to reproduce; in the process, they may make the host organism sick.

This considerably decreases the chances of person-to-surface vectors working for viruses, including Covid-19.

* Viruses can however survive outside of host organisms for some time.

* Viruses may also be very specific as to which animal (etc) species is a viable host.

This considerably decreases the chances of catching Covid-19 from the family pet.

As regards examples of historical pandemics, bubonic plague is bacterial, whereas flu, like the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920, is viral.

Viruses as a whole are very diverse; only a tiny proportion adversely affect humans. There are plenty of further ways, however, in which Spanish Flu and Covid-19 are similar, while the other more recent pandemic virus -HIV, that causes AIDS- is different.

For instance, Flu viruses and Covid-19 are both respiratory, and take 1 to 21 days to act. In contrast, AIDS is spread by blood contact or sexual contact and takes far longer to manifest itself.

Returning to the history, a few centuries ago, microscopes were invented and so microbes were seen. It took some decades to suggest that some diseases are caused by particular kinds of microbes. This delay is well understood from there being many millions of types of microbes per type that infects, let alone substantially harms, humans. But this connection was eventually made, and antiseptic spray that kills microbes in general came into use.

This gives some further strategies:

Strategy E) Use antiseptic spray in hospitals and around pandemic patients and to avoid being a pandemic patient.

Strategy F) Soap does not kill most microbes, but it dislodges them from one's hands, say, without any need to be able to see the microbes. It does so by a 'surface effect, sticking to whatever is on your hands, and then sloughing off with it.

So washing hands is generally a good strategic element. Also, disinfecting sprays are warranted in hospitals and e.g. in places that a patient lived in prior to being diagnosed. This removes the microbes without having to know which microbes.

Strategy G) If there is a pandemic, there are moreover clear benefits from identifing the particular microbe that is responsible.

This we know what to test people for: Strategy H).

It may also mean we already know some substance that kill it without harming us: Strategy I).

For bacteria, antibiotics such as penicillin are such.

Viruses are less likely to have a solution of this kind avilable, however.

Vaccines are a different approach: dead or weakened versions of the pathogen trigger our immune system to produce antibodies, which then overcome the actually infectious pathogen.

Vaccines are however microbe species specific. This is clear from vaccine names: there are a lot more names (MMR, polio, last year's flu) than there are large classes of microbes like just 'viruses' or 'bacteria'. So, while soap and antiseptic spray kill a wide variety of microbes, vaccines are much more species specific (and ths require knowledge of precisely which microbe is causing an illness).

Flu has often been a problem (as well as the Spanish Flu killing of the order of 100 million people in not much more than a year). % By this, our biotech firms are experienced at producing flu vaccines. Unfortunately, coronaviruses are neither sufficiently like flu nor enough of a past menance. So neither does flu vaccine design directly carry over to CoVid-19, nor have Coronaviruses so far attracted enough attention that we have a comparable experience in vaccinating against them. This is why developing a vaccine is a matter of months to a year, whereas flu jabs appear many winters well ahead of the flu in question itself.

So some of our defenses against coronaviruses are not as strong now as they will become in future.

Strategy J is then to fund research into coronavirus vaccines long-term. Fund research into yet further kinds of respiratory virus vaccines as well. Justification for this is in the form of adverting potential future world crises. This is as well as building up a larger pool of researchers that can then be mobilized faster if yet another unexpected and understudied type of microbe causes a pandemic.

Multi-part populations refers to e.g. carriers showing no symptoms, and recovered patients who are then immune to reinfection.

I.e. do not think in terms like 'given M people, transmission vectors are...'. But rather that our population of M people contains I infected, C symptom-less carriers, U uninfected and R recovered patients. Vectors are then C to C and C to I as well as I to I (and I to C) while R play no part in the dynamics, nor do the N natually-immune people.

The ideas then are, *you tube explanations available* firstly that

M = I + C + U + R + N

(defining U to not included the naturally-immune, and assuming no more parts are relevant). This is the total population size; modelling M evolving by + B - D here allows for M's changes due to births and deaths to be modelled too.

Secondly, that the relevant population-part variables (often fractional parts, meaning replace I by i = I/N, say). participate in transmission vector mechanisms.

So one has a differential equation system in I, C, U, say (1 part less than the total number of parts if M is approximately constant, since then the last fraction is 1 - sum of the other fractions).

This is as opposed to just a single differential equation in population size M.

So we have something like

d I/dt = (I + C)U ,

d U/dt = - (I + C)U ,

d C/dt = (I + C)C ,

This is not meant to be a specific model, but just an illustration of rates of change over time = (2 person interactions corresponding to transmission vectors).

The first equation says 'infected people go up whenever an unifected person is in sufficient contact with an infected person or a carrier).

Each term on the right may well have a transmission coefficient, ratios of which may identify which mechanisms are the prevalent ones. E.g. is the disease mostly transmitted by carriers or by visibly infected people?

Having such a model requires an isolated population like a country with sealed borders to estimate how many people are C and U.

People cannot tell if they are C or U as they have no symptoms. But some Covid-19 tests may be able to do so. This is useful since e.g. tracing who had contact with who (Strategy K) makes little sense if C is say 1000 times larger than I, so that C U interactions (no reason to suspect) dominate C I interactions (infection is suspected).

Point of order 1 Estimating C and U does not require sampling many people. It requires a random sample of, say, 20000 people to get this right with a large amount of statisticians' confidence. The randomness of the sample beats local correlation effects (clusters of people who know each other who cauht the virus off each other).

This does not however tell each person in the coutry whether they are U or C. Testing everybody is the only way of determining that.

So suppose a country tests a random sample of 20000 people and estimates that with 99% confidence there are 800000 to 1200000 carriers in a nation of 60 million people at that point in time.

This puts a number on how seriously everyone should take the possibility that they are a carrier. In the above hypothetical example, it is about 1 in 60. This means that if you are in contact with a bit less than 60 people (eg through essential work), then you are probably in contact with a carrier. Knowing it's 60, not 6 or 6000 is useful both to the individual and to the government. This e.g. nullifies the chances of finding every carrier, and suggests that gatherings of 10 to 100 people, say, should not recommence. You know on this basis that your going near a vulnerable person has a 1 in 60 chance of putting them around a carrier: you. While 1 in 60 is small, the consequences for a vulnerable person could be death or a permanently furtherly vulnerable existence if they survive. The risk rectangle for going near vulnerable people is thus large if a government estimates that 1 person in 60 is a carrier. As a comparison to form a ratio of risks, you don't endanger 1 pedestrian in 60, or even in 60000 each time you drive your car, say.

Lessons learned: only a tiny proportion of the population need be tested to estimate accurately the proportion of carriers. Not knowing if you are a carrier does not stop being able to strategize, as a 59/60ths chance non-carrier but a 1/60th chance carrier. All this does is split the risk analysis into two parts: if you are and if you are not. You or your governmentcan then figure out what the largest risk rectangles are on both branches of this fork, so as to avoid them. If you fall ill, or you are tested and found to be a carrier (or not) simply discard the half of the risk analysis you now know you don't belong to.


II.2 Viruses are small... relative to what?

Viruses are very small, so they can travel, and survive, in very small droplets, themselves too small for the eye to see.

A typical lengthscale for a virus is 10 to 1000 nanometres (= 10^(-9) metres or 1/1000 of 1/1000 s of a millimetre. So 1/1000 to 1/100000 of a millimetre.

Coronaviruses are of middling size in the virus world: around 100 nanometres, i.e. 1/10000 of a millimetre.

Lest any precise calculations require it, they are more specifically roughly spherical with diameter in the 120 to 130 nanometre range.

Principle 0 Facts along the lines of 'a virus is 100 nanometres long' are {\sl useless} by themselves. Useful interpretation requires ratios of quantities that have the same units. So in forming the ratio, the units cancel out and we are left with a unitless number.

For example, viruses are much smaller than the naked eye can see. For (virus lengthscale)/(human eye resolution lengthscale) = (1/10000 mm)/(1/10 mm) = 1/1000: a pure number.

This follows from the approximate limit of resolution of human vision being around 0.14 millimetres.

[This is not the only way of quantifying resolution, since it is more primarily a notion of being able to tell differences at slightly different angles from the position one is looking at. The length scale we give here is along the lines of what is a pixel resolution on a screen. You can see for yourself that the width of a human hair is a good example of what the human eye can just resolve. On a colour contrasting background, you can see the hair, whereas on a similar colour background, it may be hard to do so.]

Tha above is a useful way of formulating resolution, since the distance at which one looks at a door knob, say, is rather comparable to the distance at which one would look at a computer screen.

Consequence 1) There is plenty of room for droplets big enough to house, protect and propagate viruses to be below human vision's resolution as well as some drops and droplets being large enough to be visible.

Let us give an orders of magnitude scale for droplets.

* Heavy rain's raindrops are over 1 mm in size (but not above 1 cm, since they would then split).

* Drizzle's raindrops are around 0.5 mm

* Regular fog contains 0.01 to 0.1 mm droplets: the largest size commonly called droplet rather than drop.

Most of these droplets are not visible, so droplet for many effective purposes means not visible or scarcely individually visible drops.

So drops are bigger than the naked eye can see, while droplets are smaller than the naked eye can see, or around the limit of what the naked eye can see. The two regimes for drop size either size of naked eye resolution are different enough to have a different word for each: drop above this size and droplet at and below this size.

* Dry fog has smaller droplets than 0.01 mm Possibly much smaller.

* Beyond some point, a collection of water molecules will stop behaving like a droplet, but this limit is much smaller than a virus, since water molecules are very small. (Just 3 atoms each, with atomic lengthscale being around 0.1 nm. So coronavirus is around 1000 times wider than a water molecule)

There is a trick for seeing that at least somewhat larger water droplets are present. Namely, try sneezing on to a mirror from 30 cm away. You cannot see droplets in the air, but the mirror catches them and has a fine surface they spread over. They have good contrast with the background mirror as well. You can use this to convince yourself that when you sneeze, droplets are produced and do travel several feet. In this way, you do not need to rely on others' say-so to see that sneezing sends droplets at least as far as a metre away. (You can feel your breath on your hand when your arm is outstretched. So you can easily envisage the droplets your mirror reveals carry at least as far as your breath does).

We need something like logarithm scale (1, 10, 100, ... are equally spaced out) to effectively compare large ranges of lengthscales. * upgrade to a figure, and explain logs since some other items will also use logs *

So, converting to metres,

* 10^-10 metres is an atom or a water molecule.

* 10^-7 metres is the size of a coronavirus

There are water droplets in this gap that coronaviruses fit in, and which can help coronavirus to move around and to survive, and yet which are not visible to the naked eye.

* 10^-4 metres is visible to the human eye: the width of a human hair.

* 10^-3 to 10^-2 metres is a raindrop

* 1 metre is the lengthscale of a person (hence why the metre or some similar lengthscale is widely used). So everything in the above list is quite small relative to us. And yet we now have a good handle on what is smaller than what.

We know why coronaviruses may be in drops: they fit in there.

We know that drops can travel very far (relative to a coronavirus) thorugh sneezing or coughing, and this gives a social distancing lengthscale that is slightly bigger than a person

* 1 to 2 metres: current social distancing scale.

* 8 metres is however how far an MIT researcher has determined (see below for citation details) that some droplets in sneezing and coughing can carry.

If this is true and significant (i.e. quite probable), then it is a major problem that streets are much wider than 2 metres but not much wider than 8 metres.

And supermarket aisles are rather narrower than 8 metres.

We can easily stay 2 metres apart.

Our cities are not however built for people to be able to stay 8 m apart.

So the next lengthscales to add to our scale are the ones built into urban geography *eventually move out to the Strategy section*:

* 3 to 6 metres: typical width of a supermarket aisle.

* 8 metres: width of a small Western street

* 16 metres: width of a large european street.

In North America, especially in suburbs, streets can be wider as a result of land prices being lower, since North America has a much smaller polulation density than Europe does.


III.3 Some questions arbout virus survival on surfaces

* needs a better essay plan *

Question 0) Is infection via surfaces a sizeable vector for Covid-19?

Question 1) How far does coughing and sneezing spread droplets?

See Item III for various partial answers to this so far.

Question 2) Which parameters are relevant to how long coronaviruses survive in the open?

Host organisms are very controlled environments.

We consequently know that this virus can survive temperatures of 36 to 40 degrees because that is what the usual through to very ill human body's temperature is.

We consider it prudent to ask what range of conditions it can survive outside of the body. If it gets on to a surface, how long can it live there?

Observation 1 Viruses as a whole are not very good at surviving without host cells to live in. They cannot reproduce without taking over host cells. That us how they can make us ill. Coronavirus can however survive in a droplet or condensation outside of the body, at a range of temperatures that goes at least from 4 degrees to 20 degrees.

Some parameters that are rather likely to be relevant to coronavirus surviving on surfaces around buildings and streets are (temperature) and (atmospheric percentage humidity).

This points to the following questions.

Question 3): What temperature range can Coronavirus survive at?

Question 4) How does this survival time vary with humidity?

These are moreover very probably not the only relevant parameters.

Question 5) Which other parameters are relevant?

Preliminary answers include whether the sample is dry or wet.

Point of Order: Viruses are very different from each other. So humanity knowing a lot about flu viruses, say, need not translate to knowing a lot about coronaviruses.

A useful observation is that many of the relevant parameters for how long a virus can survive outside of the host body are the same for all viruses.

Please note the difference between what this says and what this does not say. It says temperature is a relevant factor, and humidity, and whether in water or dried out and so on. It does not say which temperature range: that is the value of the parameter. The names of possibly-relevant parameters we know from other viruses. The values these parameters take can however vary wildly from virus to virus.

So a strong line of questioning procedure is like this.

What temperature range can coronavirus live in outside of a host?

For how long at each temperature?

For a fixed temperature, does varying the air humidity greatly affect how long it lives?

If yes, then temperature data is insufficient for a final answer.

But the point is that a big enough parameter space that no significant parameter is left out can be built up by science.

It may take some months to do this, but it must be done.

And the strategies and government policies for what to do must change as this knowledge improves, until it has converged to a reasonably final answer consistent with all observations.

Arguing that there are too many parameters to make definite statements is debunked. This is because the virus is clearly very dangerous, so we need to make do with whatever sequence of temporary small parameter number models. The need is enough that we have to start with single parameters, then consider pairs of parameters, until a fully functional model fitting all known observations is found.

Even partial models will help shape both personal strategy and government policies like social distancing or what government advice bulletins are updated to contain.

For instance, someone with access samples of this virus, safe handling and scientific equipment should ascertain whether 60 degrees kills it fast. If so, washing clothes at 60 degrees makes sense as a decontamination, and if not, not.

Likewise, checking whether it survives at 1 and 0 and -10 degrees C. If it still survives at 1 degree C, putting things in the fridge won't decontaminate them. Fridges can't freeze - many goods intended for fridges are damaged or rendered dangerous by freezing - so 1 degree C is an important practical limit. Seeing if freezing the droplets kills it, whether at 0 or at -10 degrees C as a common limit on freezer temperatures is practically important. Does putting things in the freezer decontaminate them?

If the answer to enough of these things is no, we urgently need advice about how to decontaminate goods. Spray as Italian emergency services use may work.

(But where is the evidence that it does? And is a downscaled version of it practicable in someone's cupboard? And can the world have enough of the substance in question to use it for home decontamination? Maybe not this month, but could some of the world's industry and logistics be harnessed to produce many times the world's current use of such substances? Or is there some other way of killing the virus that everybody can safely and uncomplicatedly use at home?)

Also note that static observations like this are useful to know before dynamical or behavioural factors are modelled.

I.e. know the material properties of the virus before placing too much stock on transmission models involving further things like droplet propagation in sneezes.

One cannot tell what proportion of infections is from coughs and which is from surfaces without knowing how long it lives on surfaces. % Or knowing which things done to surfaces (like cleaning supermarket conveyor belts) actually demonstrably remove all the virus.

Only when these things are known can the relative coefficients of the terms in dynamical epidemiology models have the right kinds of values.

Getting this wrong can have knock-on effects on qualitative behaviour of the models, basically by touting the wrong mode of transmission as the 'principal' mode of transmission.

The dynamics of person on person coughing are very different from those of infection from surfaces.

One knows if someone coughed nearby too, whereas one does not know if somebody coughed on the tins of sardines in the local supermarket at some point in the previous 5 hours.

Or whether such a tin was handled by an infected person who'd just used a hand held tissue to wipe their nose.


II.4 What features make an airborne pathogen dangerous

Comparison with the Spanish Flu, as well as regular Flu, will go here.

Principle C Social distancing has the effect of flattening the curve of new cases.

This may prevent the total number who are seriously ill at once from exceeding the number of hospital beds, doctor hours, and ventilators available in a given country's hospitals.

By this, avoiding this situation through social distancing is a good idea.

If a national health service collapses, it does not just turn further patients away; it may cease to function for most of its current patients as well.

Such a collapse is basically the military equivalent of a rout: what operatives remain cease to be organize and so mostly cannot keep on offering organized resistance.

Draft History Motivation and Target Audience was rewritten on April 8 2020, when pathogens, transmission vectors and risk analysis were also added.


III. 1 Masks improve matters... (May 18)

So let us parametrize what makes a good mask.

This may moreover vary with face size, from the point of view of the extent to which the mask still permits sideways emissions out of not forming a tight seal around the cheeks.

III. 2 What is the procedure for, and price of, UV decontamination? (May 2)

III.3 How robust is the 'reuse the least recently used member of a fleet' strategy to prevent transmission? (May 2)

III.4 Temperature dependence of survival of viruses on surfaces

Partial Answer to Question 3) Some preliminary bounds based on observations and back of the envelope calculations are as follows.

Coronavirus survives for weeks at 4 degrees C.

Coronavirus survives for days at 8 to 20 degrees C. [E.g. this news article points to some further reading about this in the scientific literature.]

Other coronaviruses survive at -20 degrees C.

Coronavirus is still spreading in countries with temperatures currently often in excess of 30 degrees C, such as Australia * but now the curve has flattened there...*.

Most viruses, however, die at 60 degrees C.

How is this relevant? see Item IV.6 for comparison with common domestic appliance temperatures.


IV Personal Strategy Overview (April 4 2020)

IV.1 Avoid, Alert, Escape classification of strategic defense functions

Relevant strategies for dealing with a pandemic come in three layers: avoid, alert and escape.

These are easy to distinguish in conflict situations, such as avoid the assailant, be alert to the assailant so you are not taken by surprise, and then run away from the assailant.

More generally, the trick is to conceptualize the avoiding, alertness and escaping as occurring in the strategically relevant parameter space.

The below examples will make this clear.

Without this conceptualization, one cannot understand, let alone formulate, things like governmental recommendations to the population, Or government policies involving medical, law enforcement and military assistance.

* Social distancing is avoid being within 1 or 2 metres of strangers, to greatly decrease chances of person to person transmission.

This includes walking away from where others are or will be. So avoiding crowds, being willing to zig-zag to stay away from each person coming in the opposite direction.

Avoiding crowds may involve going down less frequented side-streets.

Avoiding people involves cutting corners wide, so that nobody about to cough is suddenly right next to you coming around a corner.

Avoiding a supermarket being a crowd may involve its security counting how many people go in. Also only letting in batches of new people from an outside well-spaced queue when that batch number of people has been counted to have left the supermarket.

* Avoiding includes testing the population who show no symptoms.

Do this for 20000 people to have already excellent-strength statistical estimate of number of people infected in the country.

This can be used to estimate what proportion shows no symptoms, and more slowly, what proportion of those affected at no point show symptoms.

These are important numbers to determine as regards modelling spread of the infection.

Do this for all citizens and each can make far better strategic choices.

Genuinely unaffected key personnel can then keep on working without infecting many other such.

Presently the countries doing most tests per population size are managing 1/800 of their population per week.

This fails to meet covering all the populace.

However, prioritizing medics, retirement home workers, and other key frontline personnel (law enforcement, those building field hospitals) can be done. Note that this should include frontline to large amounts of vulnerable people, hence retirement home workers as well as doctors and nurses.

An interesting thing to estimate: what proportion of a country's people do frontline jobs?

How long would it currently take to test them all? How often should such be re-tested?

We will be carrying out this analysis below shortly.

Testing the whole populace also better determines how mask supplies are to be optimally distributed.

It makes sense for frontline personnel to have a large proportion of available masks (including several months' worth, at least, in stockpile, so there be no short term danger of running out). But also for people testing positive to have masks, so as to be less infectious during any unavoidable manoeuvres.

People testing positive should be notified by mail as well as email, with such mail including several masks unless the person indicated, in being tested that they already had some masks.

This is an example of a negative feedback mechanism.

* The tests also have alert defense value: those testing positive must self-isolate and be ready for if they develop severe symptoms.

Have paracetamol for if not severe. Check temperature as a matter of rote, as well as if suddenly feeling much worse.

Have contact numbers for emergency services.

Get supplies delivered outside, that you only collect after the deliverers have gone.

Have people check on you by email or phone.

* Escape defenses include escape from being very ill by hospital treatment.

Escape from a city not having enough hospitals by say military engineers and medics building a field hospital there.

This can re-allocate doctors and medical support to where there are most cases.

Many Italian doctors being based in Rome ceases to be convenient if most of the pandemic only affects part of Northern Italy instead.

A field hospital can be built in 1 to 7 days. This includes converting suitable large empty buildings with temporary partitioning and bringing in supplies, beds, ventilators, doctors, nurses, and supporting structures: catering for the staff, ambulance parking, adjacent temporary morgues etc.

A slightly longer term escape is as follows. Escape from not having enough masks, gloves, medical protection suits, ventilators... by mass-producing them. Whenever possibly, do so locally: no border crossing, so that shipments, and even production facilities, cannot be seized by other countries.

* Let us finally go back full cycle to future ways of avoiding pandemics being more robustly prepared.

Never again deindustialize in favour of cheaper imports that the country does not have industrial capacity and flexibility enough to mass produce all of these items within 1 to 3 weeks of an epidemic breaking out.

Stockpile ventilators much like countries with modern armies stockpile planes and tanks.

Do a risk analysis over all diseases to know what else to stockpile. Let the health ministry get more money than the war ministry per year until shortfalls are covered.

Article III is a stub, and also a menu.

One does not need to use all possible strategies. Just enough of them to have a good overall avoid defense, a good overall alert defense and a good overall escape defense.

This is literally like a menu: one only needs a subset of starters, main courses, and desserts, not everything on the menu. But different people can choose different personal defenses, and different countries and resource situations can point to different parts of the menu being useful in different countries. At different stages in a pandemic. And at different stages of resource depletion and of changes to types of goods industrially mass-produced in response.


IV.2 Staying safe (17 March 2020) *split up into other Items*

It is probably a good idea for everyone to have a body temperature thermometer.

Checking your body temperature is normal is a way of detecting that one is not about to get very ill.

* check range of advice for what a persistent cough is. *

This does not preclude however that you could be a passive carrier.

We have reason to believe that having a moderate case of coronavirus can be dealt with specifically paracetamol, over the course of around two weeks. Self-isolate if this is, or may be, the case.

If one's condition is rapidly deteriorating, contact emergency services according to their protocol at that point (find on internet).

Temperature-wise, one may be in danger, and also cease to think, move, function coherently, if one's body temperature is above 39 degrees celsius.

Know that at this point of time (17 March) it is still more probable to have flu or a cold, so distinctions in symptoms such as here may be useful. Though a) symptoms vary from person to person, so only a doctor can diagnose, and b) it is also possible to have more than one of these at once, and/or allergies as well.


IV.3 Forecast for the next 4 months (17 March 2020)

1) The Italy Model of the near future For now, viewing the UK as '2 weeks behind Italy' is gaining some credibility as an accurate model of cases recorded.

2) Timescale for the immediate consequences The lower bound of at least 4 months of major disruption has been widespreadly declared by many countries.

For universities, this means that there is unlikely to be a conventional Easter term, exam format, post-exam celebrtations, or graduation ceremonies.


IV.3 Personal Strategies input material updates (7 April 2020)

-1) Some Dons have had a go at this here.

0) In the streets, one can walk slower or faster, or curve around a bit, to stay 2 metres apart from others.

How might this not be enough?

1) Somebody may come round a corner or out of a shop or residential door. They might in particular cough while doing so. * intermesh with opening questions *

But: Doors can be countered by walking on the part of the pavement next to traffic.

This may not however work if there are people coming out of parked car doors as well, or if the pavement is narrow, or if there are quite a lot of people.

So high person density is also to be avoided

2) Question 6) at what distance can one notice someone is coughing is also relevant?

Preliminary answer 6.i) by ear, 20 to 40 metres.

Preliminary answer 6.ii) By eye, extreme coughing can be noticed up to 150 metres away provided that there is line of sight. Such coughing is however expected to be rare among those who venture out in public.

3) It is generally suggested that the streets are safer during daylight hours.

You can see where people are from further away, avoid crowds, and be aware of any law enforcement present. You are also avoiding the time of day in which criminals operate "under cover of darkness".

4) Given involvement of droplets in propagation of the virus, windy days might turn out to be unsafe.

Foggy days (while unlikely by this time of year) are even more concerning.

For now, we recommend not going out other than for emergency reasons on a foggy day.

5) It has also been observed that rubber gloves do not do well with zips or long fingernails.

Tearing one's rubber on zips can be avoided by being aware it can happen, and practising with a pair of gloves for this specific purpose. This can thus get torn in multiple failings as one learns how not to unzip one's coat, backpack, wallet etc.

That nails can tear gloves is not yet among reasons publicly given for cutting nails short (that dirt and wetness gets under nails has been stated elsewhere).

6) If droplets are a danger, then having facial hair noticably increases absorption cross-section, and long hair shouldn't be left loose either. > "Hat or plat" is our saying here. If facial hair cannot be avoided, e.g. for religious reasons, covering up when out and about town may help in place of shaving may help. Also the absorption cross-section increase due to facial hair is only a small increase on that of a shaved face.

7) Loose clothing similarly adds absorption cross-section.

8) Tight waterproof clothing is probably better than regular clothing, but only on the long run if it can be maintained. I.e. can it be repeatedly washed? Do you have 2 lots of it, in case you need to go out while one set is still in the wash? Waterproof trousers are part of such a set-up if available. Countryside people, walkers, outdoor workers, outdoor sports people... may have such trousers.


IV.4 Assembling a foraging kit

* This item is for now a stub. *

I.e. items that are both essential or useful out there, but which then don't make it into your house past your decontamination zone.

Those doing essential work in workplaces other than home might similarly assemble work kit that isn't then used in the house. Ideally, as much of this as isn't necessary for the journey home should stay in the workplace. Such set-ups might involve using a separate work phone and home phone.


IV.5 Strategies based on Covid-19 survival temperature range (7 April 2020)

Make ratios between Covid-19 survival termperatures and temperatures associated with common domestic appliances.

Your fridge (0 to 4 degrees C) will not kill the virus if it is on anything you put in there.

Your freezer (-10 degrees C) quite probably will not either. But we need some lab to specifically put Covid-19 in -15, -10, -15, -20 degree C conditions, with suitable safety procedures taking samples and checking for still functional virus every day or two.

Your washing machine on gentle setting (30 degrees) probably won't kill it (after all, this is more temperate than the human body where it lives fine...)

But almost all washing machines can operate at 60 degrees C or higher.

Higher may be advisable especially for outer layer protective equipment worn while shopping or conducting emergency services work.

That said, temperature is not the only possible means of decontaminating clothes. See later on in this document for soap action and chemical spray action.

We would like some lab to check that keeping Covid-19 samples at 60 degrees C kills them off, for the full range of environmental humidities. If 60 degrees fails, then try a much higher value (100 degrees C is far more sill likely to be fatal to life). Then proceed to use repeated bisection to narrow down to what maximal temperature it can tolerate.

We here, without any labs, can probably figure out which part of the humidity range is relevant indoors at spring months' indoor temperatures.

This is an example of not needing to look at all of the parameter space to defend some principal parts of our life better.

Indoors is also windless. Banning running in supermarkets removes significant relative motion effects as well.

* block may be out of position * Our tactics and policies section will have a lot more suggestions. This will treat social distancing scale as a free parameter . This will also indicate which strategies and policies become necessary as this free parameter value is increased from 1 to 8 metres.

We have no sufficient reason for now to extend it further than 8 metres.

That this observation affects strategy is clear.

Advice to not handle purchases for three days were largely not made based on Coronavirus' survival properties.

Coronaviruses dangerous to humans are new, so we don't know them that well.


IV.6 Decontaminating upon entering your house (7 April 2020)

Decon is partly like rural de-mud or 'no shoes in the house'.

The house has an area near the door, ideally in its own partition, where outer clothes are removed, so the 'mud' doesn't go further.

Decon depends on the 3-day longevity of the loose virus.

There is already public evidence for 'leave bought goods 3 days outside before using them'.

Decon might, under extreme preparedness, be a hosedown with suitable agent.

Decon has to be squared with how many clothes one has for outdoor drips.

Decon doesn't affect putting stuff in the freezer. Whether the virus can resist fridge temperature remains unknown to us, and is strategically relevant while any choice in what food to buy remains.

Band Decon into 'no money, 50 pounds or > 1000 pounds as regards its tech components. By this, systematic capacity to hosedown is a bracket-3.

But having 3 of the cheapest waterproof jackets is just a bracket-2.

3-band the strategies:

For > 1000 pounds, copy suitable combinations of official procedures that are accessible to the public.

For 50 pounds or free band, our conceptual thinkers and scientists here may be able to offer options (and maybe estimates of the ratio efficiency between brackets).


IV.7 Beware "cargo cult science" (7 April 2020)

I.e. (in Richard Feynman's sense!) that things that merely look like the right items while having somewhere between none of and part of the expected functions of the genuine article. For instance,

Beware things that look like surgical masks but aren't really.

Beware of tests that don't work.

Perhaps even eventually beware contraptions that look like ventilators but fail to operate like ventilators in key ways that perhaps only doctors who operate ventilators can point out.

Surgical masks have a mesh size that prevents small droplets from getting though.

Surgical masks are shaped to minimize droplets getting through round the edges of the mask.

"Last week the US authorised the importation of respirator masks from China made to a Chinese standard that is close to US specifications for the N95, which filters at least 95% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. (The European equivalent is the FFP2 respirator.)" (Julian Borger, the Guardian, April 5 2020).

Home-made masks will seldom have these properties, and carry no discernible mark guaranteeing such properties.

Mask effectiveness is (at least in good part) down to mesh size, and this cannot be investigated using the human eye. % This is because most of the droplets being defended against are not visible to the human eye.

Some sources of masks may spring up that do not (want to) know what standards surgical masks are made according to.

Question 7) can we see the mesh size using magnification equipment that one might occasionally find in a household? (Magnifying glass? Toy microscope?)

It is suggested that under no circumstances should anyone who operates ventilators in hospitals be silenced if they notice that a particular provider's ventilators do not function viably, or considerably underperform in any key way. This may occur if a company that does not usually produce ventilators is required by a government to produce ventilators. I.e. an oversight could occur even if an attempt is made to copy. This is moreover more likely to occur if design variants are hastily attempted. Especially if this involves cost-cutting by people who are either not qualified to risk-analyse ventilator design variants, or who are but are silenced by their bosses who are not.


IV.8 Germany as a role model

Germany is the model for now of avoid defenses for new viral pandemics; avoid defenses are moreover very often the strongest défenses.

It is suggested that 'national defense' should include having at least as many hospital beds and ventilators per person as Germany currently has.

Germany's main avoidance defense is mass testing; at present (April 6), the UK government's public advice concurs with mass-testing being desirable and a short-term aim.

"When the government’s mathematicians modelled figures from Italy and showed that 30% of people admitted to hospital ended up in intensive care, they warned the government that the NHS would be overwhelmed. The government backtracked within three days" (Anthony Costello, The Guardian, April 3 2020)

Backtracked, that is, from herd immunity rather than enforcing social distancing and shutdown of non-essential workplaces-and-retailers.

IV.9 Relevant parameters for respiratory masks [June 18 2020]

0 Material composition

0.1 material thickness 0.1, 0.2, 0.4 mm

0.1 flexibility 1, 3, 5 '80g paper sheet folding'

0.2 weave structure mesh and weave aren't same thing. Diamond weave, with lesser angle strictly greater than 0 degrees but smaller than 90 degrees

0.21 mesh size. 95 - Removes 95% of 0.15 micron radius upward particles, 99 obvious ditto, 100 stands for 99.7% ditto: So 100's are safer but not safe.

One reason for 0.15 micron relevance: this virus is roughly 0.1 microns, and travels enveloped in water. Its body (spikes ignored) however, is more like half this size, and the virus' effective size in a mesh/filter context is rather probably this smaller number, due to combination of flexible spokes and not being totally neutralized by partial spoke loss in passing through a mesh.

Q1 What would it take to block all fixed-sized particles?

Q2 What about drops passing through multiple pores before reforming on other side?

To Q1: `all' is very weakly bounded by quantum tunnelling probability; quantum effects generally negligible above 1 nm, with exp suppression factor.

0.2a ridge structure

0.2a.1 Ridge width and depth 0.1, 0.2, 0.4 mm each

0.2a.2 Side of mask exhibiting ridges: outer, inner, both

0.2a.3 spacing between ridges

0.2a.4 ridge's own mesh shape: diamond, hexagonal, irregular

0.2a.5 Ridge clustering: on edges, on central bands, horizontal, vertical or diagonal emphasis, and how these clusters themselves form a yet larger mesh. Descriptions of cloth mesh, ridge mesh and ridge clustering include the symmetry group with some molecule/wallpaper/crystallographic addenda to the abstract group involving how the group acts in space relevant, for instance reflection versus inversion for the 2-group

0.2.a.6 Ridged frame rigidity, ridged cluster's large scale rigidity.

0.2.a.7 Flap of the cloth relative to the ridges, and bend of the ridges relative to the ridge clustering

0.3 mask softeness Relative abrasion: it versus skin

In case of there being inner ridges, abrasion of those, and coating material of ridges. This permits the ridge to be hard and yet not abrasive, provided that coat wear timescale is negligible compared to stated service time of the mask.

0.4 mask in an unallergic material

Polyester allergy is a thing, but many masks are in cotton or linen.

Allergies to textiles are quite often for secondary reasons like dyes, glues, or 'formaldehyde finishing resin'. Some can be avoided, and other such can be stated on mask packet under 'possible allergies'.

0.5 mask a hostile environment for germs, especially viruses.

The Independent say that linen is good in this regard. But is it optimal and what variety is there in linen, both antiseptically and as regards other properties on this list?

[Some surface types and material types have smaller half-lives than others] well documeted for metal and plastic, but what about for cloth?

0.6 mask waterproofness

0.7 effective mesh size when mask is wet. can a mask being wet enhance transmission across the mask of droplets, even if these just drip off the mask rather than being propelled away from the person?

0.8 spongicity: weight ratio of absorbed water to dry mask. Masks may be a bit too 2-d to exhibit this like a sponge. But 2-d can still trap drops even if these bulge or 'surface-run' relatve to a mask's thickness. Experiment: water up a mask, compare with an old sponge: old enough that it's ok to make a thin slice of it as an interpolatory model.

0.9 Oil resistance, settings N - Not oil resistant, R - Resistant to oil, P - Oil Proof

This will have a different 'spongicity' due to different capillary constant and different cohesion properties

And what happens if a mask gets oily/greasy and wet at the same time? (These two materials repell each other, so does one largely adhere to the mask and drive the other one out?)

1 Unfolded

1.1 size, as quantified by area.

1.2 Unfolded shape: elongation ratio of rectangle. change in ridge separation and ridge clustering in unfolding

2. Straps

2.1 unstretched length

2.2 elasticity thesp mask elastic, reinforced elastic, inelastic (tie-able)

2.3 yielding strain

should be yield stress, or proof yield stress, meaning some percentage departure from Hooke-linearity far away from catastrophic material failure: Has value above zero. Stress = force/area and area is poorly estimated at home for the cross section of a string. But the mask has no problems taking 3 Newtons of force. One older mask will have weights hung from it iteratively, from 100 g to up to 5 kg if necessary. If the elastic does not deform under pinching, callipers are a tool for assessing width; if multiple directions' width coincides, the thread is circular cross section so area = pi x (width)^2/4

Update: an old £1 multipack mask exhibited proof strain for 5 newtons, and broke for 15 Newtons but not for 10 Newtons. So iterate between 10 and 15 Newtons for further precision. Its string was 0.2 by 0.3 mm elliptic, so use pi ab with a = 0.15 and b = 0.1. Remembering that the experimental configuration worked against two parallel copies of the cross section, this gives 1.5 x 10^8 Newtons per metre squared.

Observing the damage, the string is still functionally elastic with the same Hooke coefficient, so this ripped out the string's attachemnt to the mask rather than snapping the string. Thus the max value is used above, as a lower bound. And, at least for this mask type, mask-string attachment is a more critical parameter than yield stress of the string itself. Conclusion: the string is good enough to warrant invesitaging if attachement sewing length is proportionate to mask breakdown yield stress. This mask only has 0.4 mm of stitching per elastic-cloth contact point. Also, there is a sense in which the elastic, not the thread, failed, in that the much thinner tread shredded through the elastic at the given tension. Thicker thread would exert less pressure, and different threading pattern could support it differently. The mask easily has room for 5 to 10 times the stich-length at these contact points. Of course, other components such as the cloth or the elastic could fail if this threading were used so as to withstand 100-150 N.

A further question is what in an urban day is at all likely to cause 3 to 15 Newton forces to act on the mask. If these are already very unlikely, reinforcing the elastic-cloth threading would not be much of a priority...

2.4 static and dynamical sags due to each of gravity, motion relative to air, and brushing against other fabrics. The first was negligible for the above mask. For the second, suspend from a fixed rigid frame and expose to wind, observing sideways-on. Sag is probably not the best quantifier of mask-other fabrics interaction. Relative inertia and relative abrasion are. Scarves, coats... are 1 to 3 orders of magitude heavier, though a jointed lamina model has only some folds of a scarf, or say the coat lapel component interact. Even these are 1 or 2 orders of magnitude heavier.

We leave it to someone else to see extrent to which fabric relative abrasiveness has an analogue of geology's Mohs scale for which mineral-or-rock scratches which other.

3 Range of possible unfurled mask shapes

3.1 Model the head as an ellipsoid: 2 independent ratios of eigendirections.

3.2 Volume of the nose 10 cm^3 in an adult but 1 cm^3 in a baby, using volume of below tetrahaedron

3.3 tetrahaedron model of nose shape: 2 independent ratios of eigendirections.

3.3.1 timescale of steaming up of glasses 5 seconds

Some surface coatings for glasses are anti-steaming. Practical value of such coatings goes up during respirator pandemics

3.3.2 timescale of which vapour circulates out of glasses. 30 seconds, at 20 degrees C temperature and middling atmospheric humidity

3.4 Quantification of top gaps triangles of area 3 x 1/2 /2 = 3/4 cm^2 each

3.5 Quantification of side gaps Multiple trapeziums with total area not in excess of above top gaps

3.4.1 and 3.5.1 by area of gaps

3.4.2 and 3.5.2 by solid angle subtended by gaps Solid angle is hard to quantify in the vicinity of the nose and mouth: around a 10 cm uncertainty on where the centre is. That said, view the mask as covering half the field. It is 18 by 10 cm, whereas the above gaps are not in excess of 4 x 3/4 = 3 cm^2. So the proportion not covered is around 1 in 60. Half the field is 2 pi steradians. 1 in 60 of this is thus pi/ 30 approx 0.1 steradians.

3.4.3 and 3.5.3 by slit ratio length/width for each gap. This is 6 for the above top gaps, and more like 1 for each side gap.

4 Mask folds: determine how the mask unfurls.

4.1 Fold number This mask has 8 horizontal folds

4.2 average width of fold 1 cm

4.3 top margin to mask height ratio 0.14 of the unfurled centre-circumference fraction

4.4 bottom margin ditto 0.3 ditto

4.5 folds up versus folds down: the thicker margin is meant for the chin but the mask doesn't tell you this, at least not visibly.

Idea: temporarily print instructions on some free mass-distributed masks.

Idea: have extensively printed training masks for children (and newcomers, in the event of only some countries doing this, or in the event of social distancing being tied muc more to urban than rural life).

5 Clip component

5.1 Clip material what type of plastic? Any point to plastic-coated metal?

5.2 clip length 4 cm arclength

5.3 Parametrization of equilibrium clip shape Bezier curve through 3 points gets a better fit than the thickness of the clip material

5.4 pressure exerted by clip on face enough to leave a mark, but socks do that too. Less pressure than glasses supports exert. This might be sorted out by the clip being broader face-side, as supporting glasses is somewhat more strenuous and yet works better (more engineering experience, customer feedback at this point in time)

6 Deformation of mask due to presence of clip. It can permanently bend the upper support wire on the above mask. This is an example of above 'grid rigidity', though only for one unmeshed wire. The mask has no lower wire, but also has top and bottom thicker cloth support, serving also as anchorage for the elastic. This material did not tear when the 15 Newton force ripped the elastic out.

6.1 Suppression factor on 3.3.1 from using a clip component.

7 Wearing a ringed second layer to eliminate side gaps (top gaps are to first approximation taken care of by the nose clip)

Ring width, ring thickness, ring mass

8 Alteration of respiratory emission

8.1 Effect on average range The hand detects hot air forward at 5 cm with the mask, but 40 cm without

A mirror detects condensation 5 cm forward with but 20 cm forward without.

Q: But is this condensation of externally present vapour?

Partial-A: I get condensation with a mechanical blower, so this bathroom does have vapour pressure capable of condensing upon applying a heat-and-advection source.

Q: But that does not give a proportion of external to internal origin droplets.

Partial A: True, but it is a bathroom. So it has more vapour pressure than elsewhere in the house. So I repeat with a portable mirror in the bathroom and then compare the amount of vapour generated with positions elsewhere in the house and outdoors on a windless day. This reveals that my bathroom indeed has more vapour pressure. To test this further, one could assemble a sealed off 'dry room' with plenty of dessicant, and see if the mirror reveals any vapour now. But this is a tougher level of lab conditions than using a mirror as a detector, so by this point the mirror would likely be replaced by a more sensitive instrument as well.

Also the range difference of condensation in the bathroom - a factor of 8 - gives some bounds on the effect of the mask on expelled breath speed once across the mask. This acts by slamming the nascent vortices. Dissipating these produces heat; I can detect hotter air on the other side of the mask using a bath thermometer. This is frictional heating in the mask locally exceeding body temperature prior to quite rapid onset of cooling due to difference with ambient temperature. It feels very different to the hand: advective cooling without the mask to immersion in fairly stationary hot air upon rapidly breathing through the mask. The physics is too complicated for this range reduction quantification to be better than order-of-magnitude, so we say range of breath, and of heat carried by breath, is down by 1 order of magitude.

Neither method detects anything coming out of the back or side gaps.

8.2 Effect on droplet size spectrum

8.2.1 Fluid-mechanical to significantly kinetic-theoretical ratio of output, by volume.

8.3 Effect on solid-angle distribution of emission (2 continuous parameters: polar and azimuth)

In the above experiment, the aperture of the breath goes from around 20 degrees without the mask to more like 40 degrees with it. Solid area wise, this is a factor of 4 change. The idea that breath comes out of top or side gaps is debunked, at least to leading order of magnitude. Enough to condense one's glasses is not the same as a significant proportion of the whole.

The effect on coughing is not home measurable: no visible extras come out through the mask this way. A rough estimate then is that breath has 5 to 10 times less range but twice the usual width to that range, while blocking all large droplets. This comfortably lies within 1m social distancing, while the maskless version requires the full 2m.

A counterpoint is that people moving unexpecetedly crash into each other quite frequently at separations of 1 metre. They do not at 3 metres even under making large independent dodges such as avoiding hails of nerf darts. 400 hours of 6-person on average combat saw zero same-team collisions when formation width was 3 metres minimum. This places a weak bound at 3 metres for not bumping into each other.

The next stage here is people ot bumping into each other from 3 metres apart down to 1 metre apart, under the conditions of: walking only, only dodging people, and, a it more strenuously, taking evasive action in the presence of nearby unmasked coughers. The range of a cough being around 2 metres limits how far one would dodge in a 1 metre separation context: around 1 metre. The problem with this is the possible presence of a second person at 1 metre as well as the cougher. A 1 metre dodge in a random direction from a cough could cause of one to crash into a such. At 2 metres social distancing separation, on the other hand, there isn't much of a need to dodge coughing in the first place, and a freedom to dodge 1 metre is present, by oneself being the only person within 1 metre. Now you might bump someone else's outer circle, while not yourself coughing, but this is different from a contact bump in the 1 m social distancing setting.

It is rather plausible that 2 metres is sufficient for the above to work in open space.

It needs to be tested whether people bumping into each other round opaque corners is a bigger source of collisions than people dodging 1 metre while other people may be within 1 metre of them.

Tactics can be evoked to improve both moreover: cut corners wide versus maintain awareness of who is near you. The latter requires more tactics: maintain 360 degree vision, or pre-emptively avoid areas with current or near-future pile-ups. 360 vision is most easily maintained (on the short run) by rocking the head (the shaking head 'no' sign so as to regularly update on 360 degree surroundings rather than just the forward range of vision, which is somewhat less than half of the 360 degree field). 360 vision is easier to maintain still by a coordinated pair, since by looking in opposite directions almost all the field of vision is covered. Carrying a large reflection surface like a transparency pinned on a hand-held folder creates a giant rear-view mirror. This has three advantages over rocking. 1) on the long run it does not strain the neck. 2) it maintains forward vision at all time, by splitting the forward field into a relevant forward field and a lower down square tilted slightly upward that reflects the backward field. 3) It looks less agitated; most people won't be able to tell you are doing this, unless it is useful enough to become common knowledge. This folder trick done well requires understanding what part of the backward field your own body obstructs, to be dealt with by keeping the folder at say half arm's length away from your body. Its disadvantages are that you need a prop. And a waterproof folder that maintains flat shape well. The attachment needs to be waterproof. You have one hand less, which lowers capacity to carry shopping. This is doubly a problem if you need to use an umbrella, though using velcro permits such a folder and an umbrella to be held as a single attached object in one hand.

The tactics of using 3 or more hands while only having two are e.g. thus more relevant in a pandemic than at other times. Another example is puttingthe umbrella strap around your wrist when it is about to rain, so you are ready to unfurl the umbrella but right until then have two free hands. A further example is that latex gloves to avoid contagion tear. So one cannot carry heavy shopping with the hand one uses to push doors etc. So one wants to be able to stack light, non-tearing capacities onto the gloved hand's wrist. A yet further example is that catching on zips tears latex gloves, by which looking for your keys in your pocket can cost you a glove (possibly the last one you are carrying). This can be dealt with by wearing one's keys round one's neck: a hands-free access. This can be repeated with the rear vision folder: by using a clipboard on a loop that can be suspended round the neck or a shoulder when not in use, freeing the hand holding it. Perhaps with time, specialized approx 30 x 20 cm rear vision rectangles that are light, rigid, antiwet, and safe to collide against will become available, with adjustable strap to be shoulder or neck mounted when not in immediate use.

While ipads and phones are reflective also, they work in a lesser band of light intensities only, and require training to use as rear-mirrors (whereas the above 30 x 20 screens do not require training). Training is a function of area of the device, as well as of remembering to use it; unlike a car rear vision mirror, it isn't always rigidly present and thus itself a reminder to keep on using it. It takes most people 2 to 10 hours to learn to use an iphone as a rear vision device. This is easier than learning how to drive a car, but harder than any kind of induction or tech update for which a 1-hour class suffices. Those who can juggle, or do magic tricks, can quite often learn this skill faster.

(It is a substantially useful skill in toy weapons fighting because it eliminates being surprised from behind. In the absence of this trick, attacks from behind are responsible for around 25 percent of people being knocked out of battles, and as much as 70 percent of people being knocked out of open-terrain melees. The competing sources of demise are ambush round a corner, outnumber, and leave without space to manoeuvre in. Open terrain has no ambush round a corner component, and much less scope for leave without space to manoeuvre in, ie only 360 encircle rather than trap against a wall, back into a corner etc. While a veteran and a beginner can easily form a 360 vision pair in a big or many-sided battle, knowing and using the 360 vision mirror trick permits veterans to be much more unkillable in roles such as scout, skirmisher or guerrila. It is also a fallback option for when a veteran's newbie partner or squad is wiped out. Becuase of these things, some dozens of us here know this mirror trick, to the extent that we can reasonably reliably say that it takes most people 2 to 10 hours to learn this trick to the extent useable with a smaller-screen device in the pandemic cough-avoiding scenario.)

This can be experimented upon to some extent by coughing in a mask while lying down, to see if visible droplets land on the floor. None observed with the naked eye.

And also using a quality-silver handmirror to detect condensation, varying its position with angle. This method can be used to detect breath, by which it can be used to plot out solid angle not covered by a mask. This depends on mask type, face shape and whether a second ring and/or a clip are used. While that is a large parameter space, it is straightforward to sample with low point number and yet adapting the point distribtion to where there is action, e.g. sampling iteratively, and then cluster sampling around where action is observed, by which seeing 90 degree but not 80 or 100 degree emission results in probing 85, 95, 82.5, 92.5, which (this is hypothetical) seeing action results in iterating outward to find the edge of action and then sampling at every 0.2 degrees in the range of action. Note: the mirror is wide enough to get all this on, this is basically centring your instrument on an active direction. This is because handmirrors are around 7 cm across, and vapour detection is a '20 cm range' phenomenon, so basic trig yields that a 5 degree width beam lands entirely on a 3.5 cm radius mirror centred about the beam.

8.4 Further effect on previous 4 of nose clip

8.5 Further effect on previous 4 of ringed second layer.

8.6 Drip transmission rate across mask when mask is wet.

9 Extent to which one can breathe out of the mask

9.1 Oxygen influx

9.2 Carbon dioxide outflux

[Note: this is molecular mass 32 to 44. The material properties of a standard mask are unlikely to distinguish between these, or nitrogen, or, for that matter water vapour. This suggests that aerosol water will get out, but it can't carry viruses attached to it: that needs a droplet bigger than the virus, and the mesh size, material thickness can stop that.]

9.3 equilibrium vapour pressure inside mask compartment are there cheap gauges small enough to fit inside a mask fro testing purposes?

9.3.1 effect on breathing efficiency of this vapour pressure.

Measurement: test subject runner is losing 2/3rds of running range due to this effect, citing it as similar to 'wet suffocating air as sometimes experienced in rainforests' Timescale of dispersal of water vapour from mask (amounting to 'taking a pit-stop with mask off in absense of passers-by) 1 second Timescale on which a runner needs to make pitstops so as to not appreciably lose running range. 5 to 10 minutes Average speed loss if a standard cyclist performs same manoeuvre (the runner is barely affected by the manoeuvre: several seconds loss of arm momentum) 20 seconds per stop at fast speed, 10 at cruising speed

10 Effect of facial hair on mask performance.

9.1 Beard length

9.2 Beard hair flexibility

9.3 Beard density Effective beard volume within the area covered by the mask would appear to be more relevant than any of the previous 3

9.4 Beard hair curl (parametrized by helical ratio).

[Experiment called for: investigate exactly how a beard affects statics, and then dynamics, of mask wearing.

Experiment called for: since some people have strong reasons not to shave their beards, whether second ring type approaches can stabilize the overall mask, and downward fluxes in the presence of a beard.

9.3 Moustache to beard affectedness ratio (moustaches are on the whole smaller, but would largely be within the mask and on some occasions might support side-gaps in mask as well). Within the previous bold insert, tache and/or beard distinction is not relevant

Measuring affectedness by gap area, by solid angle, by air flux, by water flux, and by fluid and kinetic fractions of water flux (the last 2 amount to only one independent parameter).

9.4 Extent of facial obscuration.

Some level of this may be illegal, or elsewise trigger security. Nation by nation law dependent

Some levels, or particular parts of face being obscured, may affect the extent to which a (partially) deaf person can understand a mask wearer. The Independent points to a transparent ask manufacturer already existing. But does steaming up still prevent the mouth from being visible enough?

Note: second ring and beard effects.

10 Affixion modifications.

10.1 E.g. scarves can be made to stay in place using clothing pins to link them or freeze in certain folds.

This refers to how a second ring can be made to cover a mask, not to altering a mask's properties by putting a clothing pin through part of the mask itself.

10.2 It is suggested that masks like todays' may develop rims which are either elastic face fitting or have untearable but pierceable attachment points.

10.3 It is suggested that mask to second ring connections are most effective if rims contain velcro attachment points and second rings contain antivelcro attachments. In this configuration, deployed in the field, the larger second rings cannot grate on the mask. In this configuration, multipack masks could grate on each other, so should be packed with antivelcro over their velcro. It may help for this antivelcro to be in a useable form, e.g. with a sewable back, by which it could be sewn onto the parts of a scarf being used to make a second ring. This way, antivelcro patches would be as common as the velcro masks they bind to.

10.4. More expensive packs of masks could alternate between masks and lightweight second rings with antivelcro already sewn on.

11 Extent of combinability of mask wearing with religious dress.

If a person wears religious face-obscuring dress, some versions of this dress may already block top and side emissions.

Versions may in this context refer here to subtle differences in type of fabric, or shape or tightness of cloth around very specific areas of the face, such as around the cheeks or just under the nose, rather than to religious-dress-type-or-meaning significance.

12 If there is a filter component, it will have a separate list of parameters.

Like filter volume, differential capacity to filter things of different molecular weights, tighness of fit, method of removal, e.g. if unscrewing how many turns it needs, and what intial and subsequent lesser steady torque is needed. It may also have a catch so as to not accidentally unscrew. It has a mass, its own grid size, and both grid material and internal chemical material may be significant as regards what it filters out.

Answers like 'paint fumes', 'chemical fumes more generally' or 'smoke' are not totally irrelevant, as it could be a work mask for essential maintenance, for assembling/disassembling field hospitals and equipment, for the fire brigade, or for detoxification.

Finally, some masks have two filters rather than one: one to either side. This could include a system for replacing one while the other remains in operation, which confers a type of strategic durability and work efficiency that single-filter model ones do not possess.

The extent to which the filter fits is relevant, as is the lifetime of any screw or clip-on mechanism. Toy weapons analogues have been known to have screwcap failure on 30 to 60 hours of use timescale and/or 200 to 300 screw, unscrew sequences. Though being gentle with changing movable parts' configurations can substantially improve lifelength, and some screwcap fails were due to 20 cm long 1-kilo mass moments about the screwcap causing various kinds of mechanical failure, while all parts of a respiratory mask are lightweight.

Remark: the following groups are used to wearing fixed-position face or head coverings, including as regards rough weather durability and fast motion durability and in some cases as regards quickly changing between outfits without affecting the display.

1) Actors

2) Wearers of religious dress

3) Cancer patients

4) Trans* people

5) Anonymous people

6) Undercover agents

Studies of how most of these groups robustly maintain face or head coverings are available, alongside matters such as how to notice something's askew, how to deploy/undeploy efficiently, and necessary upkeep. Representatives of 1), 4) and 5) have already reported for duty

13 Goggle component

Some respiratory masks contain a such.

This has thickness, transparency, surface polish, inner and outer surface material, refractive index, scale of imperfection, hardness, bending strain resistance and shatter-proof resistance.

Also extent of fit, and its own adjustable elastic strap having elasticity parameters as before (but different-valued of course) as well as buckle/affixation parameters, including static friction, dynamic friction and min lengthscale of adjustability. The goggle unit's mass and internal air volume are also relevant.



V.0 Suggested reading (2nd week of May)

here, here and here.

V.1 Mental Health

More mental health difficulties due to isolation.

More stress due to worrying about getting the virus, being worn out from recovering from the virus, and worrying about loved ones who have the virus.

More stress from not being able to see friends, lack of human contact, being cut off physically from family and partners.

More worries about the future, out of this now being a more uncertain and unpredictable place.


V.2 Unemployment and Poverty

This is especially for those with zero hours contract, gig economy jobs, self-employed, made unemployed, or who were already unemployed.

Zero hours contract and gig economy jobs may not translate to online versions, and even if they do, customers, advertising, operating are all different, as may be hourly rates, or what proportion of that profession remains viable under the circumstances.

Unemployment benefits, disability allowance etc might also cease to cover what it used to, as food becomes scarcer and costlier, and bills go up through being at home all day.

This depends in part on whether these costs outweigh transport costs


V.3 Food Poverty

E.g. that eating enough calories can still cause malnutrition, and that some of the cheapest available foods have excess calories, causing obesity.

Also some essential nutrient sources may become scarce. Fresh fruit and vegetables are an example: the source of the merely metastable vitamin C. (Meaning that non-fresh versions of vitamin C containing foods gradually lose their vitamin C content over time).

Question 8 which vitamin C sources neither go off nor appreciably lose their itamin-C content over a 4 to 6 month lockdown period?

Calcium, proteins and vitamin D are other examples.


V.4 Domestic Violence

Increases with isolation, whenever in the same place as an abuser.

Escape routes from abuse are also cut.

As are possibilities for telling friends/anonymous listeners/support groups about it without leaving an electronic trail or a phone call log.

Being able to move to a shelter other than one's home without having to say why

This is viewed as essential for people trapped in Domestic Violence (less than 1 in 20 of whom will be willing to say that's what the matter is to the authorities). This is also useful to people with Mental Health issues, or Closetedness issues, or whose families stigmatize them for being e.g. Trans*. Not having to say why an alternative shelter is required is key to most of these people being able to move to safety.

* provide internal links to Survivor pages *

* Mention further issues with child abuse, like not being able to leave home for another place of shelter without saying why, as well as quite possibly not knowing what to do to get away form the place of abuse


V.5 Housing for the Homeless

This includes understanding that a fairly large proportion of Homeless People may prefer being homeless to

a) having any interaction with abusive individuals.

By which this procedure absolutely cannot involve any obligatory gatekeepers. It must always be possible for a homeless person to say: I need a different person to interact with if you are going to house me.

b) To participating in bureaucracy.

By which it is essential that if any paperwork is required, there are people at hand to supply this if the homeless person specifies 'no filling in of forms'. Such paperwork should also be minimalized, especially as regards anything that the homeless person needs to state. It should not require the homeless people having documents, since being homeless is a setting in which such can be lost or stolen. Also having to run away from home may mean having no papers, and this may also be the case if running away from pimps or gangmasters.


V.6 Theft and black markets

Items affected by this may come to include food, essential food, medicine, protective gear, survival gear, and other items relevant to mid and long term consequences.


V.7 Public patience


V.8 Public unity


V.9 Excessive force by law enforcement and/or excessive fines and penalties

This may damage public patience and public unity, leading to civil disobedience including to social distancing, curfews, or forming orderly queues.

This may also form a positive-feedback loop of escalation: if the public retaliate, law enforcement may strike back harder, and so on.



As a large safer space, we here have the means to provide a support network for those of us who interact electronically with the society.

We can provide Kindly Notes, Silly Notes, and brief not-in-person participation activities such as chain-writing. We are very experienced in providing such activities. (Thousands of organizer hours, including mapping out all substantial variants: chain-draw, chain-draft, chain-create, chain-critique, chain-worldbuild and so on. We even have the means of chain-building things out of lego via suggesting where to add or swap bricks.) This expertise and facilities are here because some of the people in these safer spaces only interact in this way. % They thus have had a lot of time and care and thought for these things.

We cannot under the present conditions provide cake or physical notes. Baking is suspended, Scouty (Surprise Delivery Faeries) is suspended, Duelling is suspended, and any other kind of gathering of five or more people is suspended. Plus most of us aren't currently in residence.

In a not-in-person manner, Listeny CakeFaeries remains open. Aside from lighter-hearted activities for briefly taking our minds off things, you can write to a Listeny CakeFaerie. You are also welcome to proofread for, or contribute further, safer space awareness webpages, and safer space art.

* Add internal links *


VIII.1 The present position (April 4 2020)

This is as follows.

Those parts of the world that have the means to flatten the curve will do so in the next 2 or 3 weeks.

"Assessing how much the rest of the world is infected will also be necessary"

This will lead to

"expeditionary forces of mixed medical and armed service personnel being sent elsewhere to help flatten the curve.

We have to hope that offers of such (or demands for admission by such) do not cause wars.

If this works out, famines will be avoided on the medium term.

If it does not, then some hot-spots will have a) collapsed medical and political systems followed by famine, civil war or invasion by non-humanitarian neighbouring armies, in some order.

If a part of the world cannot avoid mass infection and declines intervention, it will be quarantined off long term.

Airdrops of food and medical supplies may still be possible.

Anywhere with a civil war or an invasion, however, will not be accessible by air drops.

(Whether by theft of airdrops by armies or by danger to over-flying aircraft.)

Anywhere with enough of a civil war or an invasion will not be quarantinable by immediate neighbours due to armed conflicts not respecting borders.

This could spark regional wars, turn civil wars into invasions and so on.

Whenever war happens, at least most world leaders and some of the population remembers what secondary problems wars cause.

They just did not expect to see pestilence in the West ever again after the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919.


VIII.2 The 3 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

We will be shortly outlining (some of the other) ways in which all three of these horsemen of the apocalypse: war, famine and pestilence, tend to cause each other (and different types of the same, like one plague causing another, or one war setting off another war).

In this way, the 3 horsemen of the apocalypse are not just a story, but rather a strong historical correlation backed up with some fairly clear mechanisms for causing each other.


VIII.4 Future Government Budgets

Others of us will instead analyse medium-term consequences, such as mental health, and loss of income for people who cannot get by with a sudden loss of income.

It is suggested that free health services be available to all people in all countries from now on.

This will require a larger proportion of government revenue to go to health services.

This proportion might, to begin with, be comparable in size to military budget. This comes from coming to view pestilence as a comparable-sized problem to war.

The 'no more pandemics' bubble has now burst, in the since that quickly-fatal condition pandemics are back. As are, at least temporarily, pandemics for which no vaccines (Flu) or effective drugs (AIDS) are available

By this, budgeting health services comparably to militaries may be reasonable.

Especially while catching up is needed. On the longer run, however, hospitals and medical technology goes out of date less quickly than say fighter planes or tanks. This is since differential tech advantage is considerably less relevant in dealing with pandemics. So e.g. fighter planes may duel each other, but ventilators do not. So medical kit will not need upgrading as often (provided that it is built and stored with long-term non-perishability in mind).


We are not a medical service.

Or a geopolitical analysts' service (though in this latter respect, we are fairly apt and experienced, at least somewhat beyond what 'might be expected' of Cambridge graduates).

This is said in the light of there being much wrong information out there, as well as there being far more than usual new information which is (or looks like it may be) of public interest.

This webpage is building a menu. Menus involve a choice of dishes rather than everybody eating everything on the menu. Different people in different places may choose different dishes. It is thus not in any way relevant if you find items on our menu that do not suit you. The menu attempts to find enough alternatives that there is something there for everybody.

We do not consent to being quoted, linked or credited until 10 years after our date stamp. So take freely from here but only in your own words, and if you care to credit people, add credits in April 2030 for our April 2020 articles and so on.


For earlier CakeFaerie News, see:

Lent 2020 CakeFaerie News

October 2019 and earlier CakeFaerie News