Written By: Robert E. Sheriff, MS, CIH, CSP, President
July 24, 2020
COVID-19 – The Known and Unknown
Over the last 6 months, we have learned or suspected many things about the COVID virus and its impact on humans.
It is highly contagious but at the same time it is extremely fragile—practically anything done to disinfect is largely or completely successful.
It appears that persons with compromised systems or illnesses are not more susceptible to the virus, but that the consequences can be more severe.
It actively takes a hefty dose of the virus to contract the disease. Just touching a door knob contaminated with the virus one time is not sufficient to contract the disease, but standing in front of someone with the disease when they sneeze and you not wearing any protection—a high probability of contracting the disease.
If you strictly play by the rules—SOCIAL DISTANCING, DISINFECT OFTEN, DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE, WEAR A MASK, DON’T GO ANYWHERE YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO—THERE IS LITTLE POSSIBILITY YOU WILL CATCH THE DISEASE.
The following situations appear to be sufficient to develop the disease because they result in significant exposure.
- 10-15 minutes within 6 feet of an infected person indoors—no protection.
- 20-30 minutes within 6 feet of an infected person outdoors—no protection.
- Standing within 6 feet of an infected person where they sneeze—no protection.
- Cumulative exposure over a short period of time (1 day??) of many brief exposures, touching contaminated surfaces, touching the face, and limited disinfection that totals the 10-15 or 20-30 minute exposure—a high probability of contracting the disease.
Young people are less susceptible to the disease because their immune systems are operating at full bore! (They eat dirt, touch hundreds of surfaces others have touched, share food and smartphones, touch, jab, hit, and kiss others, never wash, wear dirty clothes, etc. etc. No wonder their immune systems can successfully attack a new virus! Also, it is likely their immune systems can destroy the virus before they get to Grandma’s House.
There is very likely a low level of exposure that the immune system can successfully attack so that there is no disease but there are now ANTI-BODIES. Enough of the lower doses and the associated accumulation of ANTI-BODIES and you have a disease-resistant person. (This will likely be revealed when studies of our HEALTHCARE HEROES are undertaken. This will answer why they remain disease-free after months of exposure to the contagious population).
It is also likely that the exposure does not have to be all at once, but over a short period of time (1 day??) Six 2-minute trips on a contaminated elevator, touch contaminated door handles 12 times in a day without disinfection, should do it!
Why do I say 1 day? (It may be less or somewhat more). The immune system is working from the start—however ineffectively—at least to reduce the active virus until the next round of exposure occurs—and each day it gets better at attacking the virus (I predict that again studies of our HEALTHCARE HEROES will show this to be true).
The greatest danger to all of us is in our families. If one member of household contracts the disease, it is almost a certainty that other family members will also get the disease—except maybe the dirt eaters!—lucky kids!
Take a look at a few of our other articles related to COVID-19