Author Archives: Bix

Dr. John Campbell On The Benefits Of Fever In Infection

From Dr. John Campbell’s YouTube channel:

When you have a fever, the body is more able to combat viral and bacterial infections.

If we let the temperature just ride in an adult (to say 39 degrees C or 102.2 degrees F) … that’s not going to do me any great harm but I know that’s combating the infection much quicker.

If I artificially lower my body temperature by giving ibuprofen or acetaminophen or paracetamol then what I can do is make that disease process worse, make the infection last for longer, and increase the probability of complications from that infection.

So we see that fever is a natural defense mechanism and very often should be just left as it is in adults to allow us to fight the infection and have less complications and shorter duration of illness.

Thanks to forumholitorium for introducing me to him.

CDC To Recommend All Americans Wear Protective Masks In Everyday Life

I’m really angry about this:

CDC To Recommend All Americans Wear Protective Masks In Everyday Life: Report

On Saturday, Weill Cornell’s Dr. Matt McCarthy reported that the Centers for Disease Control will revise their recommendations on protective masks.

In the next ten days, the CDC guidelines will reportedly change to advising Americans to wear masks “in everyday life.” This contrasts with the current guidelines, which only recommend masks for high-risk groups like health care workers.

The country is currently suffering from a shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment as health care workers struggle to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Many have been forced to reuse spent masks, or fashion their own out of materials lying around. The revised guidelines would threaten to worsen the mask shortage unless increased production begins right away.

NEW: CDC guidance on masks expected to change in next 10 days. Americans will be advised to wear masks in everyday life. Current recommendation is for high-risk groups only.
— Matt McCarthy (@DrMattMcCarthy) March 28, 2020

I’m angry because:

  • I don’t know if it’s true and I can’t trust what the CDC and the White House say about this anymore.
  • The Surgeon General already told us that masks are ineffective. Now they are effective? Which is the lie? (He also said that healthcare workers needed the dwindling supply, which is a contradiction. If they are ineffective why should anyone wear them?)
  • Why 10 days? Wouldn’t now be more effective? Last week? Two months ago!?
  • There aren’t enough masks to go around. How do you recommend the impossible?

Since people are shedding virus long before they know they are infected, the recommendation for everyone to wear a mask made sense months ago.

Plexiglass Sneeze Guards

These have been cropping up in grocery stores: plexiglass sneeze guards. They’re a great idea. I think we should keep them year-around.

Source: Sneeze guards: Kroger, Walmart, Publix and other stores adding plexiglass barriers for cashiers as virus spreads

A big thank-you to all the grocery store workers and all the food delivery people, both to stock stores and to stock people’s homes. You’re helping to keep us all fed during this crisis.

Plain Old Soap: The Best Disinfectant For Coronaviruses

Why does soap work so well on SARS-CoV-2?, Virology Down Under, Ian M Mackay, PhD (EIC), 9 March 2020

Below is a diagram of a coronavirus, specifically a mouse hepatitis coronavirus.
Source: SARS-CoV-2 and the lessons we have to learn from it, Edward Nirenberg.

Why does soap work so well on the coronavirus and on most viruses? Because soap is made with fat. And like dissolves like:

The soap dissolves the fat membrane [lipid bilayer, in grey in above diagram] and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and “dies”, or rather, we should say it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive.

Disinfectants or liquids, wipes, gels and creams containing alcohol (and soap) have similar effects but are not really quite as good as normal soap. Apart from the alcohol and soap, the “antibacterial agents” in these products don’t affect the virus structure much at all. Consequently, many antibacterial products are basically just an expensive version of soap in terms of how they act on viruses. Soap is the best but alcohol wipes are good when soap is not practical or handy (e.g. office receptions).

About alcohol, he says:

Alcohol does also dissolve the lipid membrane [but] you need a fairly high concentration (maybe +60%) of the alcohol to get a rapid dissolution of the virus. Vodka or whiskey (usually 40% ethanol), will not dissolve the virus as quickly. Overall alcohol is not quite as good as soap.

What do you do with this soap? You wash your hands:

So when you touch say a steel surface with a virus particle on it, it will stick to your skin and hence get transferred onto your hands. But you are not (yet) infected. If you touch your face though, the virus can get transferred from your hands and on to your face.

And now the virus is dangerously close to the airways and the mucus type membranes in and around your mouth and eyes. So the virus can get in…and voila! You are infected (that is unless your immune system kills the virus).


[Antibacterial agents like triclosan] do basically nothing to the virus!

In sum:

Water is not very effective alone in washing the virus off our hands. Alcohol-based product works better. But nothing beats soap – the virus detaches from the skin and falls apart very readily in soapy water.

The study below found no harms of using bar soap. They inoculated bar soap with 70 times the amount of bacteria you’d find on normal used soap bars and there was no detectable bacteria on respondents’ hands after washing. Bar soap is also better for the environment. Less plastic packaging.

Study: Washing With Contaminated Bar Soap Is Unlikely To Transfer Bacteria, Epidemiology and Infection, 1988

Pennsylvania State Shutdown


All schools
All daycare
Bars and restaurants, except for take-out
Liquor stores
Senior centers
Hair salons
My bank, except for drive-through and online
My dentist
All “non-essential retail” except for grocery stores, hardware stores, pet stores, and pharmacies

Almost everything is closed. Gas stations are open but I read that gas may be in short supply if the restrictions last for a while.

Oh well. Here’s a photo of a crocus I saw this morning.

How Much Time Will Families Spend Feeding Themselves During COVID19 Shelter-In-Place?

Take a look at this. It’s a schedule that the Lazarovics made for themselves and their two children, ages six and nine, during the pandemic restrictions that closed schools.

Source: Sample Schedules For Kids Home From School During Coronavirus Outbreak, HuffPost, 17 March 2020

First, it’s great. Top notch parents.

Second, being the food person in my household, I’m looking at their food time.

From what I can tell:
Breakfast is about a half hour.
Lunch is about an hour: prep is a half hour, eating is 15 minutes, cleaning is 15 minutes.
Dinner same as lunch.

Is that right? Is that how much time a family of 4 typically spends on feeding themselves these days? About 2.5 hours a day? For three meals plus snacks cooked at home from scratch? That includes all prep, cooking, eating, and cleaning dishes, pots and pans, and any labor-saving devices like blenders and food processors.

I don’t know. Maybe it is. I couldn’t do it. Just roasting potatoes or cooking brown rice takes longer than a half hour. A stock pot of water for pasta takes about 20-25 minutes to come to a boil. Beans from scratch? Welp.

I think the Lazarovics may be underestimating the amount of time food takes.

How Long Coronavirus Lasts On Various Surfaces

At a temperature of 68 degrees, SARS [and likely coronavirus] lasted:

— Less than 8 hours on latex
— 2 to 8 hours on aluminum
— 2 days on steel
— 4 days on wood
— 4 days on glass
— 5 days on metal
— 5 days on ceramics
— 5 days on plastics (but one strain survived up to 9 days on plastic)

In general, nonporous surfaces like doorknobs, desktops and airplane seat trays tend to transmit viruses better than porous surfaces such as paper money, human hair, rug pile and fabrics. The microscopic holes or spaces in porous surfaces can trap the microbes, preventing them from being transferred.

The easiest way to kill coronaviruses … is with a disinfectant. Solutions containing 62% to 71% ethanol alcohol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite will do the trick within a minute.

Source: How long coronavirus lasts on metal, glass, plastic and other surfaces, SFGate, 11 March 2020