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Ser Scot A Ellison

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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10 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

I was not trying to tell you what type of protective equipment to use.  I was merely using the term "airborne" according to its ordinary English meaning.  And if you search for the phrase "airborne droplets" you will find that I'm not the only one using ordinary words according to ordinary English definitions.  Even persons in specific specialties will often revert to ordinary meanings when talking to laymen.

People in specific fields often develop variant or narrower definitions as "terms of art" of their professions.  These not only differ from the meanings of ordinary English, but also from the meanings found in other professions.   They are not right or wrong, just different.

I'm just using ordinary English.  I was not trying to speak Hospitalese, or medical jargon.  And I'm pretty sure I made my meaning clear. 

Hospitalese as you say is not what is happening here. Airborne means just that. Carried by air, not by expulsion. Everybody in a hospital uses the same term from the groundskeepers to the maintenance staff, the porters, nurses and doctors. Airborne in English means carried by air. Droplets DROP! They drop onto surfaces. They do not waft on currents of air out into the hallway and on into the ventilation system. English is not that complicated of a language.

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43 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Airborne means just that. Carried by air, not by expulsion.

I'm using it to mean "carried by the air".   Expulsion is beside the point.  That's just about where it came from.

43 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Everybody in a hospital uses the same term from the groundskeepers to the maintenance staff, the porters, nurses and doctors.

Even if this were true of your particular hospital, which I very much doubt, it would not give you authority to play word police.

43 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Airborne in English means carried by air. Droplets DROP! They drop onto surfaces.

So do virtually all airborne particles, at some point.  Even the "Airborne Rangers" must come down eventually.  You're basically arguing that the phrase "airborne droplets" is a contradiction in terms.

43 minutes ago, maarsen said:

They do not waft on currents of air out into the hallway and on into the ventilation system.

I expressed no opinion on how far the air carries the droplets.  But they sure as hell don't just drop straight to the ground.

43 minutes ago, maarsen said:

English is not that complicated of a language.

No it isn't.  Airborne droplets are indeed carried by the air.

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2 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

I'm using it to mean "carried by the air".   Expulsion is beside the point.  That's just about where it came from.

Even if this were true of your particular hospital, which I very much doubt, it would not give you authority to play word police.

So do virtually all airborne particles, at some point.  Even the "Airborne Rangers" must come down eventually.  You're basically arguing that the phrase "airborne droplets" is a contradiction in terms.

I expressed no opinion on how far the air carries the droplets.  But they sure as hell don't just drop straight to the ground.

No it isn't.  Airborne droplets are indeed carried by the air.

Why are you so reluctant to learn and change your (wrong) opinions, like, there is nothing wrong in learning thing that you didnt know. there is no need to dig your self any further. 

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5 hours ago, Conflicting Thought said:

Why are you so reluctant to learn and change your (wrong) opinions, like, there is nothing wrong in learning thing that you didnt know. there is no need to dig your self any further. 

What wrong opinions are you accusing me of?  It seems to me that the difference between me and my adversaries is that I have taken a flexible approach to language, where I acknowledge that different definitions can apply in different contexts, whereas my opponents are a bunch of absolutist semantic authoritarians who say that only one definition can apply ever.  

And what is to be gained by this?   It is simply misleading to claim that flu-type viruses are ABSOLUTELY not airborne in ANY sense of the word.  That would cause the layman to assume that flus cannot travel through the air AT ALL, not even for short distances.  Is that your goal?  To mislead the layman with this all-or-nothing approach to the word "airborne"?

Edited by Platypus Rex

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Let's get this discussion of "airborne" versus "droplets" slightly back on topic, to how it applies to the new coronavirus.

Here is an article from a few days ago, in which Dr. Donald Milton, an influenza researcher, reacts to the claim of Chinese officials that the new coronavirus is spread only(?) by droplets:

"Unmasked: Experts explain necessary respiratory protection for COVID-19"

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/02/unmasked-experts-explain-necessary-respiratory-protection-covid-19

Here is a quote from the article:

Though Chinese officials said earlier this week that they believe the coronavirus is transmitted only via droplets, implying they do not believe airborne or contact transmission plays a role, Milton said that statement is likely rooted in fear, not science.

"To me this sounds like someone trying to deal with panic, because people panic when they hear airborne transmission and long-distance transmission," he said. He said there has been scientific evidence of aerosol transmission of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), so it is likely possible for this novel coronavirus, as well.

Milton cautions that the difference between aerosol and droplet transmission is largely in name only. Respiratory droplets, emitted with a sneeze or a cough, are commonly thought to land within 6 feet of patients and are too large to be buoyant on air currents. Respiratory aerosols are droplets too, Milton said, but smaller and light enough to travel farther.

"You cannot tell the difference epidemiologically between something aerosol transmitted by weak sources and large droplet spray," said Milton. "They behave so similar, it's very hard to pick up the difference."

It does not sound to me like Dr. Milton thinks much of the absolutist approach to the distinction between droplet-spread diseases and airborne diseases.

Edited by Platypus Rex

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21 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

Airborne means "carried by the air".  Airborne droplets are not the most dangerous way to be airborne.  But they are airborne, in the normal sense of the word.   Ordinary words have ordinary meanings, and I, being a layman, reserve the right to use words according to their ordinary meaning.  Ordinary flu is (primarily) spread by airborne droplets.  Secondarily, it is spread by infected surfaces.  But in addition, there is some evidence that it, or some strains of it, can be spread in other airborne ways:

No no no. You cannot just make up your own meanings for technical terms. Influenza is not spread through "airborne droplets" but through close contact with infected individuals, fomites, and respiratory secretions. I'm not sure why you're referring to influenza as "ordinary" flu - it kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide every year. 

21 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

I was not trying to tell you what type of protective equipment to use.  I was merely using the term "airborne" according to its ordinary English meaning.  And if you search for the phrase "airborne droplets" you will find that I'm not the only one using ordinary words according to ordinary English definitions.  Even persons in specific specialties will often revert to ordinary meanings when talking to laymen.

People in specific fields often develop variant or narrower definitions as "terms of art" of their professions.  These not only differ from the meanings of ordinary English, but also from the meanings found in other professions.   They are not right or wrong, just different.

I'm just using ordinary English.  I was not trying to speak Hospitalese, or medical jargon.  And I'm pretty sure I made my meaning clear. 

This is disingenuous nonsense. There is no "ordinary English" meaning for "airborne transmission". You're simply shifting the goal posts of your unsupportable argument. 

And, for reference, certain viruses like SARS can become aerosolized in certain circumstances. Generally SARS only spread via droplets and close contacts, but there is a risk of aerosolization during airway management or invasive suctioning. Which is why I sometimes will wear an N95 when intubating patients with uncertain respiratory illnesses (recently that was with a guy who ended up having RSV which it isn't necessary for). 

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1 hour ago, Aemon Stark said:

I'm not sure why you're referring to influenza as "ordinary" flu -

Did you try looking up "ordinary" in the dictionary?  You might find some clues there.  But I really thinking you're carrying this word-police nonsense a little far.  What's next?

1 hour ago, Aemon Stark said:

it kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide every year. 

LOL, yes.  That's exactly the flu was referring to.  The reason I call it "ordinary" is because it is so widespread.

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There is an extremely important epidemiological distinction between airborne and droplet spread, despite any snark about the distinction when it comes to the Diamond Princess and number of cases there.

In the context of a confined space, like a building or cruise ship, airborne spread can happen via ventilation systems, droplet spread can't happen via ventilation systems. Bacteria are unlikely to be spread by air, and large viruses unlikely also, because they are heavy (i.e. will fall out of the air) and also big enough to be captured by normal air filtration systems.

In the context of spread in a town, city, region, country or internationally, airborne spread can happen across several kilometres (miles). Droplet spread can only happen across 10s of metres (yards) at most. 

In the case of the Diamond Princess, if the virus was airborne then locking yourself in your cabin would not be toally protective because the AC system could be spreading it everywhere on the ship and evacuation of the ship would be the only option. But in the case of droplet spread, locking yourself in the cabin is an effective protection, so long as you aren't locked in with someone who is shedding the virus.

Foot and Mouth disease is an airborne virus and can spread several kilometres that way. If this coronavirus was airborne spread affected countries would be in a much worse situation than they are now and there would be more panic about it than there is right now. The FMD virus is about 30nm in size. The internet says coronaviruses are over 100nm in size. When you're a virus, that's a big size difference. Size matters when it comes to potential for airborne spread.

Actually this aspect of transmission tends to go against conspiracy theories about it being a bioweapon (and there's shit already out there with videos and articles asking "is it a bioweapon". If you want something to be a proper bioweapon you will pick something that has effective airborne transmission, like the virus in '12 Monkeys'. So notions of it being some instrument of biological warfare are further negated by it not being an airborne virus.

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41 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

There is an extremely important epidemiological distinction between airborne and droplet spread, despite any snark about the distinction when it comes to the Diamond Princess and number of cases there.

I have never denied the significance, nor the importance, nor the usefulness of the narrow technical definition of "airborne", particularly to specialists.  I have merely pointed out that the word "airborne" can be, and is, used in other ways, especially (but not exclusively) by laymen.

Context is key, and to communicate, you have to know your audience, and speak his language.  Preferably without an attitude of elitism or arrogance or condescension.

Quote

In the context of spread in a town, city, region, country or internationally, airborne spread can happen across several kilometres (miles). Droplet spread can only happen across 10s of metres (yards) at most. 

If you insist to a layman, in absolutist terms, that a disease is ABSOLUTELY not airborne, he will not understand you to mean that the disease can only be carried in the air for tens of meters.  He will understand you to mean that it cannot be carried in the air at all.  The lay definition of "airborne" is "carried by the air".

So why am I being attacked for clarifying that simple point?  Do you folks WANT to mislead the layman?

Edited by Platypus Rex

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And on a much happier note, Russian television has been broadcasting the news that Covid-19 was actually created in American laboratories and unleashed against the Chinese as part of Trump’s trade war.

So there.

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Can't remember who linked him initially, but here is Dr Campbell explaining as a man of few words why it's stupid to think this virus is a man made bioweapon at about 5 minutes.

If anyone wanted to produce a bioweapon "they could do a better job than this".

He is speculating that it could be being spread in the air because of the Diamond Princess situation. As it's a heavy virus it won't spread far in the air, but if the ship's AC system is pushing it around, then limited airborne spread is a possibility. So that's not great.

Man, if they didn't want conspiracy nuts calling this a lab made SARS "upgrade" why the heck did they basically name the virus SARS 2.0 (SARS-CoV-2 to be precise)? But I guess the conspiracy nuts got busy claiming it was lab grown SARS 2.0 before this formal naming. So maybe coming out with this name isn't going to make people wear 2 layers of tin on their head instead of only 1.

Edited by The Anti-Targ

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8 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

Context is key, and to communicate, you have to know your audience, and speak his language.  Preferably without an attitude of elitism or arrogance or condescension.

Talk about the pot and the kettle...
It's not arrogance to explain to someone why they're wrong, or why using the correct words matter. If a "layman" wants to discuss complex issues they should be ready to learn about these issues. Insisting on using vague or incorrect terms to put forward nonsensical theories or ideas is in fact a form of arrogance. Why should anyone force themselves to forget their knowledge to communicate with you? Do you believe your thoughts on the coronavirus to be so valuable that it's up to others to make the effort?
This isn't a classroom where people who know what they're talking about are supposed to explain things to others, it's a forum where people discuss stuff. If you don't know, just shut up and learn.
In all honestly I didn't know the fine differences between airborne or droplet spread either, and I'm grateful to people who took the time to explain it. Now the conversation can be all the more interesting. By contrast, insisting on using incorrect terms would just make everyone dumber.
I see this sort of attitude everywhere and sometimes it drives me nuts. Apparently individual opinion is so valuable that in a discussion everyone should listen to what the most ignorant person in the "room" has to say and if you don't you're arrogant or condescending or whatever. Way to elevate discussions...

 

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9 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

In the case of the Diamond Princess, if the virus was airborne then locking yourself in your cabin would not be toally protective because the AC system could be spreading it everywhere on the ship and evacuation of the ship would be the only option. But in the case of droplet spread, locking yourself in the cabin is an effective protection, so long as you aren't locked in with someone who is shedding the virus.

The CDC recommends taking "airborne" precautions with COVID 19, including, if possible, an isolated room that has been pressurized to prevent the escape of air, and proper protective equipment.  This of course falls far short of a statement that it actually IS "airborne" in the most technical senses.  But I'm guessing they are not too reassured by the "droplet only" assurances of Chinese officials, or by your expert opinion that if it were truly "airborne" it would have infected EVERYBODY on the Diamond Princess, instead of a whole bloody lot of them.

Also, the Hong Kong authorities have already evacuated an entire apartment building because of their suspcicion that COVID 19 was spreading through the air vents.  It had, they believed, already infected someone in an apartment many stories below the original case.   The suspicion, in this case, was that the disease was spreading in the form of emanations from infected fecal matter; and that defective sewage and/or ventilation systems may also have been part of the problem.  When Chinese authorities were asked to comment on the situation, their response was something along the line of:  fecal emanations? ok, sure, maybe, but we still think it is primarily droplet spread.

I don't have time to post links at the moment, so feel free to do your own google searches.  If you cannot find anything, feel free to ask nicely and I may dig up a link for you.  I am also going from memory, so feel free to rake me over the coals if any detail of the above turns out to be slightly inaccurate.  I 

9 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

Foot and Mouth disease is an airborne virus and can spread several kilometres that way.

You're really moving the goalpost, if you are going to start talking about KILOMETERS.  

 

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by your expert opinion

this snarky refrain in your replies converts a reasonable discussion into a matter of personal affront when someone has the temerity to disagree with your conspiracisms.  respect and humility might be a better approach, rather than the unwarranted and embarrassing irony. you can disagree with someone without trying to insult them, yaknow.  

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Hmmm I don't remember me claiming that everyone on the ship would be infected if it was airborne spread. I am sufficiently expert to know that nothing is 100% when it comes to diseases. In fact the rate of infection on the Diamond Princess is evidence for airborne spread.

I'm not shifting goal posts. The FMD example was to illustrate that airborne as opposed to droplet spread has potential for a much greater transmission range.

Air pressure in a room would depend on whether the person in the room is infected or not. If a person is infected you want negative pressure so that airflow through gaps in doors etc is into the room. If you're not infected you want positive pressure so that airflow through gaps is outward. Of course the main form of ventilation would need to be through filters capable to capturing or killing the virus. Not entirely sure if there are 100nm filters, so a ventilation system able to kill the virus (maybe UV light?) would be needed. I imagine hospitals must have air sanitising ventilation systems, so being in a hospital should be safe for uninfected people, at least from airborne spread.

 

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5 hours ago, sologdin said:

by your expert opinion

this snarky refrain in your replies converts a reasonable discussion into a matter of personal affront when someone has the temerity to disagree with your conspiracisms.  respect and humility might be a better approach, rather than the unwarranted and embarrassing irony. you can disagree with someone without trying to insult them, yaknow.  

Well, I must say one thing for @The Anti-Targ.  His posts are more substantive than most, and he does engage with the facts and the issues.  And if there one person in this thread who might be able to claim, without hypocrisy, that this here platypus ought to be more respectful than I am to those I disagree with, that person just might be @The Anti-Targ.  Perhaps we would all do well to emulate his good example.

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10 hours ago, Rippounet said:

It's not arrogance to explain to someone why they're wrong, or why using the correct words matter. 

It is totally arbitrary to claim the dictionary definition is "wrong".

Let me make you an offer.  From now on, whenever I use the word "airborne", I will do my very best to say precisely in what sense I am using it.  For instance, if I mean the lay sense, I may say "airborne (in the lay sense)".  If I mean the technical sense, I may say "airborne (in the technical sense)".  You in turn, as long as my meaning is clear, will cease this ridiculous campaign to control other people's language on this issue.  Is that not fair?

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