Surgical masks protect you from corona virus

Update On Coronavirus and COVID-19 Has Moved, But Details Remain On This Page

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This page was updated 3/31/2020

I am constantly adding to this page.

To Give This Perspective

People are fearful about this new Sars-Cov-2 virus - AKA Coronavirus that causes the COVID-19. I thought I would give some examples of past flus, including the normal yearly flu numbers of infected, and deaths, as well as the last United States pandemic that we experienced in 2009-2010 called the Swine Flu. As you can see the quick reaction that countries are taking seems to have decreased the spread of this current virus. It is true that the Coronavirus and the illness COVID-19 are more deadly in comparison (with the  current figures we have), but if you curb it's spread this decreases the number of people who get the disease in the first place. Unlike, the Swine Flu era and the Spanish Flu, countries are taking immediate action to stop the flow of this virus.  Additionally, if you read on you will see that some groups of people are more exposed than others and there are things you can do to prevent the spread.

Although the mortality rate associted with the Coronavirus and COVID-19 was thought to be 3% from data first received, Anthoy Fauci, MD, published an article in the February 28th New England Journal of Medicine that examined a study of lab confrmed COVID-19 patients in China hospitals and found a mortality of 1.4% among 1099 patients admitted to the hospital. Due to the fact that this virus often causes a very mild scenario, it is thought that many cases go unreported. Dr. Fauci has theorized that ultimately COVID-19 may have a more similar fatality rate of the seasonal flu, which is 0.1%. The fact is that at this point, no one knows for sure what the mortality rate is. I keep a running log every 4 -5 days of what the current rates of infection and death is, as reported by the world health organization at my Coronavirus Update page if you want to see how fast it is growing, and what the WHO is reporting as the known numbers of infections and the deaths. Remember that only those tested as positive will be listed. We don't know the real number of those that have been infected that simply get well and go on with life, as there are not enough tests to test anyone except those who are more serverely infected at this point.

Perspective On The Normal Yearly Flu In The United States

Center of Disease Control in USA, estimates from 10-1-2019 to 3-14-2020, there has been 38,000,000-54,000,000 cases of flu illness and 23,000 to 59,000 flu deaths.

Perspective On The 2009 H1N1 Pandemic - Swine Flu

From April 12,2009 - April 10, 2010 the CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases, 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths in the United States from (H1N1)pdm09virus.

Collecting Facts About Coronavirus And COVID-19

Many people are worried about the new Corona virus called 2019-nCoV, that appears to have originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Following is some reliable information that is currently known.

The Family Of Coronaviruses

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. All human coronoviruses have a zoonotic origin. Many of us have experienced coronaviruses as a cause of bronchitis or a common chest cold. But this family of viruses also includes those that have caused serious outbreaks such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-1). Coronaviruses from animals can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS and SARS coronaviruses in the past. When person-to-person spread has occurred with MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of SARS and MERS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.

Common human coronaviruses

  1. 229E (alpha coronavirus)
  2. NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
  3. OC43 (beta coronavirus)
  4. HKU1 (beta coronavirus)

Other human coronaviruses

  1. MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)
  2. SARS-CoV-1 (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS)
  3. Name of the new coronavirus is now - severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
    (SARS-CoV-2) and the name of the disease it causes is COVID-19, previously called 2019 novel coronavirus. Many people just calle it coronavirus.

So far according to the World Health Organization, it appears that SARS-CoV-2 is easily transmitted, and the incubation period appears to be up to 2 weeks with a mean incubation period of 5.1 days. The symptoms are similar to flu symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms Of Coronavirus And COVID-19

Many people who have COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. Someone may have a mild cough and not even feel ill.

Common signs of infection

  • fever
  • cough
  • tiredness
  • muscle aches

Some patients have had

  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • other aches and pains
  • nasal congestion or sputum production
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • other gastrointestinal symptoms

In more severe cases, infection can cause

  • difficulty breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • pneumonia is the most serious manifestation
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • kidney failure
  • death

Early symptoms are dry cough, sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion. May have fatigue, muscle pain, headache and dhydration. Some people have digestive symptoms. Some people have reported loss of a sense of smell and taste a one or the only symptom. Practitioners need to treat the person at this stage before it gets worse. Nip it in the bud.

This  virus moves from the upper nasal-pharyngeal airway down into the lower lungs.

1 out of 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficult breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. About 3% of people with the disease have died. But realize that there may be people who do not seek medical care and have mild illness, so the mortality rate could be much lower. People with fever, cough and difficult breathing should seek medical attention.

Those individuals with preexisting deficiencies are less likely to fight it off and have higher risk of mortality. The virus starts at the upper respiratory system (nose, throat, sinus) but can proceed to the lower respiratory tract (lungs). When the virus gets into the lungs, it can attach to the receptors on the lung cells and cause inflammation. There is inflammation in the airways that causes shortness of breath.

The immune system is now becoming vigilant and attacking the virus. This can lead to severe inflammation, and shortness of breath. There can be edema and much phlegm, protein exudates, focal reactive hyperplasia of pneumocytes with patchy inflammatory cellular infiltration and multinucleated giant cells. Fibroblastic plugs have been noted in airspaces. Inflammation and edema now set in and there is lack of oxygen. The lung is weak and the rest of the body is getting less oxygen and it can become physically to the practitioner in discoloratio of dependant body parts. There is a cough but no sputum coming up. The virus can trigger what is called a cytokine storm where the immune system puts up a big fight and ends up not only attacking the virus, but also the lung tissue and can damage the lungs. Eventually, this can lead to organ failure.

You can get the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO)

Where SARS-CoV-2 Attaches/Enters In The Body

The virus that causes COVID-19 illness, enters the lungs through ACE2 receptors, and  it appears people with high blood pressure have worse outcomes than those with any other underlying condition. ACE2 receptors exist in multiple species, and in humans they dot the hearts and lungs. In addition expression of ACE2 can be found in oral and nasal mucosa, nasopharynx, lung, stomach, small intestine, colon, skin, lymph nodes, thymus, bone marrow, spleen, liver, kidney, and brain. They play a role in the development of high blood pressure and diabetes, and are present in greater numbers in people with cardiovascular disease. It is not known if the increase is serious COVID-19 illness in people with high blood pressure is due to a coincidence of age and age related ill health, or is related to the role the ACE2 receptors play in both high blood pressure and COVID-19. Researchers now want to find out if ACE inhibitors hurt or help people at risk for severe COVID-19 disease. It is known that ACE inhibitors are associated with an increase the number of ACE2 receptors. Chinese researchers say, "Whether patients with COVID-19 and hypertension who are taking an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin-receptor blocker should switch to another antihypertensive drug remains controversial, and further evidence is required."

Additionally it is known that ACE2 has been shown to play a protective role in influenza-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome and, with age, ACE2 expression drops. So, we really don't know if ACE inhibitors and blockers are helpful or problematic until more research is undertaken. In the mean time there are many people using these drugs for high blood pressure that are waiting for these results.

How Is It Spread

Originally it was suggested(not known, but suggested) that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air. It appears to be both though. The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through contact with an infected person through respiratory droplets generated when a person exhales, coughs or sneezes.  These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. The aerosolized virus has been shown to last in the air for 3 hours. The virus has also been shown to be able to last for quite an extended time on things like metal or plastic objects. It lasts a shorter time on cardboard. Research finds the virus can last up to 72 hours on stainless steel and plastic. Other people then catch SARS-CoV-2 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch SARS-CoV-2 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick and people are being told currently to stay 5 feet from everyone. It is important that everyone practice good respiratory hygiene. For example, sneeze or cough into a flexed elbow, or use a tissue and discard it immediately into a closed bin. It is also very important for people to wash their hands regularly with either alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. Although some people will tell you that masks do not help, I disagree. Masks and even eye protection can be helpful to keep from getting this virus if you are in close contact with people who may be infected. It is even better if the infected person wears a mask while around other people.

Close contact is the most likely way to get this virus. Staying a five feet away from people will help ensure a decreased chance of it spreading to you.

Once Exposed, How Long Before You Feel Sick

There can be up to a 14-day incubation period, with an average of about 5.1 days between being exposed to the virus and acquiring illness. This means you can be passing it on to others during this time wihtout realizing it. It also means other people that appear well, may also pass it to you.

Who Has COVID-19

Although anyone can get it, according to WHO,  older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes and heart disease) appear to be more at risk of developing severe disease.

It also appears that more men are susceptible to COVID-19 death than females. In Italy one analysis claims 70% of COVID-19 deaths were male. A gender gap was also noted in SARS-CoV-1 and MERS.

The Fatality Rate Of COVID-19

The fatality rate is around 3.5%, (not everyone is tested, there may be many more with COVID-19 that are never tested)a good deal lower than the 10% reported for SARS-1 and much lower than the nearly 40% reported for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), another recent coronavirus mutation from the animal trade.

Prevention Advise From WHO

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water; Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain a minimum of 1 meter and better yet 2 metres (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing; Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands; Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
    Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
    Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

Cleaning Air In Areas Where Someone With Influenza Or COVID-19 Has Been

I have used ozone machines in the past to clean up the air in a room after an infectious person has been in the area. You can't have people or animals in the room when doing this though as it can be hazardous to run ozone machines in rooms with living entities in the room. Please don't do it. I write about this in other areas of this website in relation to their use in moldy building cleanup.

Another type of machine that is used both in moldy building cleanup and to remove viruses is the hydroxyl machines. They are used around people and one of them claims 99.99% effectiveness against pathogens. Check out their website for more details if you need something like this. They have written an article on the use of their machine and the COVID-19. Some of these machines are claimed to be safe to use while people are in the room, but this has been refuted and I am not sure if it is safe or not, so I would personally remove animals and humans from the room before running them unless they have good research on their machine proving these claims.



Everyone Out In Publc Should Have A Mask On

The person who most needs to have a mask on is the one who is sick. However, we should all have masks on.Let me tell you why.

I am shocked at people who are claiming masks will not protect the public from spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Using a mask is one of the more effective methods to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. A comprehensive Cochrane review examined multiple physical preventive measures (eg, screening at entry ports, isolation, quarantine, social distancing, barriers, personal protection, hand hygiene) and found that masks were the most consistent and comprehensive measure.

In my opinion everyone who is out and about in public should have a mask on. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine evaluated a group of travelers from Wuhan, China, returning to Frankfurt, Germany. The researchers found "that shedding of potentially infectious virus may occur in persons who have no fever and no signs or only minor signs of infection."

Knowing this role of asymptomatic transmission makes it even more important for people in public areas, especially crowded areas to all wear face masks. Any one of us could have the virus and be out and about at any time, not knowing it.

I am guessing this is not being discussed much as there is a shortage of masks. However, we do need to talk about this as masks should be an important aspect of decreasing virus spread and we need to let manufacturers know they need to tool up and make masks not just for hospital workers, but for everyone.

Making Your Own Masks

Masks are hard to come by, so some people are making their own at home. How safe are they? Do they work? This article on DIY Masks studied a variety of materials. If you are thinking of making your own mask, it is worthwhile reading. For those of you who are claiming masks don't help, that is as silly as saying washing your hands does not help. The virus is small and needs a tight mask. Yes, it is not 100% protection, but an N-95 mask or even as this article above shows, masks made from various materials around your house, will help. They show a regular surgical mask captured captured 89% of bacteriophage MS2 particles (5 times smaller than the SARS-CoV-2 virus). Material from a vacuum cleaner bag came in at 86% and dish towel material came in at 73% with cotton blend t-shirt material at 70%. When they used a double layer of materials these figures became 97% for surgical mask, and 97% for dish towels. Although the towel and vacuum filter were the best materials in this research for catching small particles, the fact is that they also had to address breathability. When they looked at how easily it was to breathe with the masks on, they concluded that pillowcase sand the 100% cotton t-shirt are the best materials for DIY masks.

A second article with additional research can be found here.

Additionally, these are a few research articles on the use of masks with viruses and chemicals that are small sized.

Directions To Make A Mask


The Main Points I Think Are Important

Washing your hands often with soap and water

Coronaviruses, like this year's version that has left 100,000 worldwide infected with COVID-19, are encased in a lipid envelope — basically, a layer of fat. Soap can break that fat apart and make the virus unable to infect you. Additionally the rubbing and the slippery soap makes it easier to wash all germs away.

A study of 3700 people showed only 5% wash their hands well or at all. If you want to do a good job, use soap and wash for minimum of 20 seconds. Then when done, if you use a paper towel it also removes more germs from your hands.

Avoid touching contaminated surfaces

Use a clean paper towel to open bathroom doors. Disinfect dirty surfaces that you use every day, like the touchscreen on your phone and your computer keyboard. I suggest you get use to using your phones less when in public as otherwise if you grab a contaminated door knob and then your phone, now your phone is contaminated.

Why People Are Worried And Who Should Be Worried

The reason people are worried about this virus is because they don't know what to expect. People are not sure China has given us "real" data. The population has never seen this virus before, so people have no innate built up immunity. There is no vaccine and no mainstream treatment currently available which makes many people nervous. Of course viruses change constantly and this is why a person can get the flu over and over again, so built up immunity is not all we might tell ourselves it is in the case of virsuses any way. However, this virus is a virus that is new to the human population, and appears it may kill higher numbers of people than we are use to with the flu. The data that we have seen so far, tells us that young people have less to be concerned about than older people, but they also can get seriously ill and die. Originally, according to Medscape, there are almost no cases below 35  yeras of age. In China children from 1-9 are 1% of the infections and none of the deaths. As people increase from their 40s-80s the mortality increases.  Clearly the older you are the more you should be concerned about this virus. Of people in their 70s who got the virus, 8% died and nearly 15% of those 80 and older died. That means this age group should socially distance themselves from others. They should use the phone or the internet to connect with others. If you have a family member, friend or neighbor that is older, call them and see if you can assist in some way. If you visit them, wear a mask and keep your distance.

Now that the virus has been in the United States a little while, the CDC Morbidity And Mortality Weekly Report in the week of Marych 19 said, A review of 44 deaths, showed more than a third occurred among adults aged 85 years and older, and 46% occurred among adults aged 65-84 years, and 20% occurred among adults aged 20-64 years.  This is early on and I am sure this data will change quickly.

People with heart problems, diabetes, or lung issues like COPD are also at a higher risk for severe disease and death. COVID-19 is similar to viral pneumonias, which tend to have a worse effect on people who already have a weakened immune system.

Pregnant women do not seem to be impacted by this infection, though only a few have been carefully tracked so far. One study published recently in The Lancet found that nine women who became infected with COVID-19 did not pass the virus on to their babies

Persons who develop symptoms after close contact with someone infected with COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider, and persons with the illness should follow CDC guidance on how to prevent transmission to others.


Currently there are no antivirals or vaccines that mainstream medicine has available for this virus and they are suggesting supportive care if someone has contracted the virus. However, I would suggest that prevention is the best way to approach this. This time of year there are many viruses that are contagious in public areas. Follow the suggestions I listed above from WHO. To protect yourself from viruses, wear a mask when in public if you do not want to get any or them, including this virus. (Masks are currently in short supply.)  Don’t touch your fingers to your face. When you get home, wash your hands immediately. If you like, carry alcohol based hand cloths with you. Watch out for those wipes with chemicals on them, they have their own hazards. Additionally, support your immune system and general health.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

If you practices Chinese medicine, I suggest you check out this lecture by Dr. John Chen: 

Western Medicine

In western medicine the following are a few things that have been tried or are being used. I also list things that should not be used.

  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen may worsen COVID-19 condition. Both ibuprofen and acetaminophen may increase the duration of illness, suppress antibody production and increase viral shedding in colds and flu’s.
  • Ibuprofen may worsen COVID-19 condition. Both ibuprofen and acetaminophen may increase the duration of illness, suppress antibody production and increase viral shedding in colds and flu’s. WHO is telling people not to use ibuprofen.
  • Antiviral drugs: remdesivir (ebola), lopinavir (HIV), ritonavir (HIV) – combo used for HIV usually – but these two are disappointing
  • Chloroquine – antimalarial from chinchona bark – No one sure if it is working at this point.
  • Steroids – The word is not to use them. They may use them ICU, but as a general rule to not use them.  Works great to decrease inflammation in lung if severe, but risk is that they  may decrease the immune system too much. Higher risk of secondary infection. Will get nosocomial infection possibly and they are hard to treat as most of these infections are resistant to antibiotics. Steroids speed up viral shedding also.
  • Immunosuppressants – Being used in cytokine storm to decrease immune reaction. Off label, experimental.
  • Ventilators
  • ECMO - Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to eligible patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Recommended by WHO.
  • Plasma/Serum from those who have recovered from COVID-19.

To find out what to do to support your immune system as well as herbs that are helpful, please go to "Immune Support During COVID-19"

The immune section of this article was moved to this new link and expanded.

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