COVID-19 – how not go insane

SARs main proteaseThis is a very difficult post to write.  The COVID-19 situation is extremely serious.  Globally COVID-19 is shutting society down.  I’m going to write a post about the implications of all that in future – although that to be honest will be guess work.  We are in completely unknown territory.  However in the meanwhile I thought I’d write a post on how to keep sane over the next 6 months?! written from the perspective of this site with a bit of eco stuff and other advice thrown in.

1) Don’t panic buy.  Nuff said.

2) Volunteer.  A lot of people are going to need food and other stuff delivered to them.  As long as you don’t have the symptoms the risk is very low to both parties.  You may know people – we do.  There are various groups being set up to do this.

3) This is allied to point 2).  Get some exercise.  If you have a garden, get out there (see 4 below).  Going cycling is a good way of exercising and it is hard to conceive that  you could catch the COVID-19 virus this way.  Look at it like this –  soon there won’t be any people on the road.  Walking is also low risk as long as you keep a reasonable distance 2-10 metres from other people.  (Sneezes can carry 10 metres but to be honest outside, you’d be unlucky.)

4) Have a garden?  Grow your own.  You should still be able to get seeds on line.  Growing your own food has never been so important.

5) Take up a hobby.  I’m still trying to get better at playing several musical instruments.    I’m learning Italian.  We were hoping to go there by train later this year.  This is not going to happen now, but I’m still going to carry on.  Write a book, read books…. etc. etc.

6) Watch your energy use.  If lots of people in the power system are ill then we could have problems.  Catching up on those boxsets?  Make sure you leave nothing on standby and get those LED’s plugged in.  Fortunately in the northern hemisphere its hitting us just as we are starting to use less gas and electricity as weather warms up and it gets lighter.  For anyone reading this in the southern hemisphere you’ll need to be even more careful.  Don’t hog the internet too much so we all can get a go.

7) A little advice on sterilising stuff, which I believe to be correct. There are five ways of destroying the virus.  Dehydration – dry it out.  Disrupting its lipid envelope (essentially dissolving it away using alcohol, which also dehydrates it).  Soap and water (the best way), disrupts its internal molecular interactions between its components.  No one is sure how long the COVID-19 virus survives on stuff it could be up to 72 hours (it will almost certainly vary on what its on).  Obviously shopping is a weak point.  One possibility for non-perishable goods is to dump them somewhere for 72 hours when home (to be honest I’m working on the 48 hour principle) and not touch them.  I’m putting my newspapers on the radiators which are still on some of the time.

There are still two destruction methods to go.  One I had forgotten about until it was mentioned by an expert on the radio last week.  That is UV light.  This has been known about at least since Tudor times.  Stick something in bright sunlight and not only will it dehydrate the virus (and bacteria) but also damage its RNA.  Remember the viruses are minute so will absorb the UV really easily.  The only thing I would say is I don’t know long this would take.  But it will be hours.  Another chemical I have learnt inactivates the virus is hydrogen peroxide.  This also would work by damaging its internal nucleic acid and proteins.  Again not sure how long this would take.  Vinegar should work as well.  Its a great organic solvent (envelope disruption) and is also acidic.  Some surface cleaners which have inorganic surfactants will inactivate COVID-19 but are far from instantaneous.



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