Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in….

The lyrics come from a very famous Fifth Dimension song, but this is not a post about music.

The Fifth Dimension

It’s a post about Covid-19 and an update on its spread, and how to live with it. And guess what? Sunshine really does make a difference, in ways that are not immediately obvious.

First up I’m going to start with some research conducted by the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, Geelong, VIC, Australia. As some of you know, my state of Victoria is at the centre of the largest outbreak in Australia. And we’re not over it [completely] yet.

What the Australian study did was to measure the infectiveness of the virus – ON SURFACES – in a rather unusual way. As the UV in light is known to kill viruses, the researchers conducted their study on the virus in the dark. They also controlled the temperature of the environment in which the virus was studied. Their results are interesting to say the least.

The following is a direct quote taken from those results :

‘viable virus was isolated for up to 28 days at 20 °C from common surfaces such as glass, stainless steel and both paper and polymer banknotes. Conversely, infectious virus survived less than 24 h at 40 °C on some surfaces.’

https://virologyj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12985-020-01418-7

For a more in-depth explanation of the study and what it found, please check out Dr John’s video.

For me, personally, these results are both good news and bad because we’ve been ‘isolating’ dry goods bought from the supermarket in the boot of the Offspring’s car. As the boot is dark, I immediately worried about how effective this isolation had been, especially as it’s been a cold winter here in Melbourne.

Then I realised that as neither one of us has become sick, the decon in the boot probably worked. A little later I realised why. The car is parked in the open so, although dark, the temperature in the boot would probably drop to about 5C at night and heat up past 20C during most of the day [the virus dislikes extremes of heat and cold]. Phew. Plus…masks have been mandated for most of this second wave so the chance of someone sneezing on my shopping before it arrives is that much less.

Keep all of that in mind as I tell you about the pandemic in Japan. A study conducted on working people in Tokyo found that despite the tiny death toll – under 2000 for the whole of Japan – close to 50% of those tested may have already been infected by the virus. For more on this please see Dr John’s video here or you can go direct to the study here.

There’s a lot to explain so I’ll try to keep it to the most important details. Firstly, the study was conducted during the summer months and the low death rate is partially backed up by data from the Western world where infection rates have also increased but without a corresponding increase in the death rate.

Doesn’t make sense, or does it?

If dark and temperate conditions keep the virus alive, the conditions in summer would do the exact opposite because people spend much more time outdoors…in the sunshine…with good ventilation. So even when they are exposed to the virus, their VIRAL LOAD is likely to be much less. And viral load determines how sick you’re likely to get.

But still, even taking the sunshine and heat and ventilation and viral load into consideration, why would the Japanese results be so extremely good despite no major lockdowns?

In Japan, the answer seems to be mostly cultural:

  • Wearing masks is normal.
  • Bowing instead of hugging or shaking hands is normal.
  • Not shouting and speaking quietly is normal.
  • Opening windows [good ventilation] is normal.
  • Supervised 14 day quarantine is strictly enforced.
  • And finally, obesity is very low in Japan. Obesity has been shown to be a major co-morbidity with the virus – i.e. you’re likely to get much sicker if you get the virus and you’re obese.

Putting it all together, cultural good practice means that the viral load is kept very low. And that means that the people who are infected are far more likely to have few symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Thus, lots of spread, but most people do not actually get sick, and those who do are much less likely to die.

If this is all true, and I think it is, then we here in Australia are going to get a reprieve over the summer months. Unfortunately, it also means that the northern hemisphere is going to be hit hard, again, especially as Western cultural practices make the virus so happy.

I can’t do anything about the northern hemisphere, but I can ask the people here in Melbourne two very simple questions:

  1. Even if you don’t believe the pandemic is real, would it really kill you to wear a mask? Not just now, when the State government has mandated that all of us must wear one in public, but after? Couldn’t you err on the side of caution, if not for yourself, then for the sick, the elderly and the disabled?
  2. Could you really live with yourself if someone you loved died, or developed a long term health problem because you put your convenience ahead of everything and everyone else?

Wearing a mask is such a small thing when compared to the horror of watching someone die.

love,
Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

42 responses to “Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in….

  • Remembering Lives

    It does feel like we are in the middle of ‘Day of The Triffids’ or ‘1984’ doesn’t it? I loved both books. Some people do appear to have become metaphorically blind don’t they? Anybody who has been unconscious through 2020 will have a shock when they wake up. All the more reason to try to live in the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Oh very much so. I often wondered what it must have felt like, living through some great war or catastrophe, and now I know. It’s weirdly anticlimactic but with a deep undercurrent of dislocation. As you say, better to live in the moment and enjoy the small joys.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Remembering Lives

    I speak as somebody who had short wave radio, who loved loved to listen to some of the propaganda spewed out by certain countries in the 80s and 90s. We knew it was propaganda back then, why can’t people recognise it now?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Remembering Lives

    It is time for people to start thinking for themselves and making informed decisions. I actually think in many ways we, teachers have not done our jobs properly, if people are so willing to swallow the first bit of nonsense they read. They should be sufficiently educated to recognise when an article is one-sided or biased.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Should, most definitely, but schools don’t teach clear thinking or anything resembling logic.The emphasis these days seems to be on creativity to the exclusion of almost everything else. I’m all for creativity, but 99.99999% of students won’t spend their lives being creative. They will, however, spend their lives trying to make sense of the world. We have the dog by the tail and it’s starting to bite.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Remembering Lives

        I do not think creativity and logic are mutually exclusive. I remember struggling to get youngsters to be a bit discerning but education has been systematically ignoring the teaching of discernment for decades. I actively encourage youngsters to argue with me. It shows they are thinking for themselves. I think I did rather too good a job of this with my own youngsters.🤣

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          lmao! Nah, no such thing. I do agree though about the two not being mutually exclusive. It’s more as if they’re two sides of the same coin. Very different but connected. Sadly one side of the coin has been neglected for decades.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Remembering Lives

            I am always fascinated by the connection between musical ( Generally regarded as a creative pursuit,)and mathematical ability. I wonder if a more extensive musical curriculum might help. I remember getting sarcastic one day, while reading’King Ant’ It is a story about an ant who is different. Turns out the ant is actually a king. The children looked at me in astonishment when I said,
            “How dare the ant be different?” They then proceeded to tell me why I was wrong. In that preciius moment they were thinking for themselves. If I had lectured them about it, I am sure it would have gone in one ear and out the other. Instead I took a chance and let them teach me the lesson. They probably went home and told their parents about my “awful” views too. Might have made some of them think too.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            lol – I’ve never come across that book but I love that you played Devil’s Advocate with them. 😀

            My subjects were languages, but you know how the public school system works. Anyway, I found myself teaching a history class to a bunch of middle schoolers. Can’t remember what the lesson was supposed to be, but I do remember trying to get them to imagine the scene and work out /why/ things may have happened the way they did. I was thrilled at how well they responded. Hesitant at first, but then suddenly, as I kept challenging them, they really rose to the occasion. lol One of the best classes I’ve never had to ‘teach’. 🙂
            You know it’s so sad that teaching is the most exhausting career path possible yet also the least appreciated. Good teachers are ‘on stage’ the entire time. Bad teachers sleep walk through the hours. 😦

            Liked by 1 person

  • Remembering Lives

    I think all this is quite simply showing up the people who care only about themselves. I am noting this useful information.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      It is sorting the wheat from the chaff, mostly, but I think there are some ‘on-the-fence’ sitters who do care, but for some reason feel they should be in with the conspiracy/denial crowd.

      I came across one woman like that on Twitter recently. She was commenting on a thread where just about everybody was beating the liberty/woe is me drum. She sounded apologetic for kinda-sorta disagreeing because of her very vulnerable father.
      Made me wonder how many more people are getting their information from the murdoch media. Even if they disagree, they don’t dare say so because their friends or neighbours or family accept the Newscorp lies as gospel. 😦

      Like

  • Remembering Lives

    Absolutely agree. I have made much the same point. What is the harm in wearing a face mask? It was clear fairly early on that weather is a factor too. I was checking out Twitter today. There is some suggestion France is adopting Victoria’s approach. I don’t know whether it is true or not. I am tired of the negativity. There are almost certainly thousands of Victorians alive today, who would not be, were it not for lockdown.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Thank you! I’d heard something like that as well but wasn’t sure about France either. The length of the lockdown seems to be in direct proportion to the level of compliance. If the whole country locked down hard for say 4 weeks, literally every single man, woman and child without exception. The virus /would/ die out through lack of hosts. But with people, especially asymptomatic people, constantly breaking and bending the rules, the virus gets to hang on in pockets of the community. When restrictions are eased, away it goes again.
      I’m not sure that France or any of the severely affected Western countries can pull it off any more. There are just too many pockets for the virus to hide, but perhaps they can reduce it to save lives.
      I agree. The death toll here in Victoria could have been horrendous. And it could have then spread like wildfire into the other states, border closures or no.

      Liked by 1 person

  • cedar51

    I have difficulties with the mask wearing as I have respiratory issues, but since in NZ, we went back to L/1 that’s not mandatory. I will wear it for short periods if I found myself needing (using commonsense) but I’ve kept up with the other “hand washing, sanitiser (on the road/read public transport) and social distancing when possible” And yes I’m going out regularly, but still not doing what was normal earlier this year…because I’ve changed to a new kind of normalcy for me…

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Hi Cedar and welcome. It’s lovely to get the perspective of someone from over the ‘ditch’. We’ve envied you New Zealanders for a long time, never more so than now. New Zealand has achieved what we should have been aiming for right from the beginning. Elimination may not be possible all the time – this is a very stealthy virus – but if we don’t aim for that level of control, we’ll never be able to control the inevitable outbreaks, or stop them from spreading like wildfire in the community. The suppression strategy might work if there were no asymptomatic spreaders, but there are, and they are the ones who pose the greatest danger.
      Anyway, it’s lovely to hear from you and I hope you stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  • robertawrites235681907

    My family are all wearing masks, Meeks. I actually prefer it as it protects from other illness too. South Africa has very high levels of TB and HIV so it is a good idea here anyway. Not everyone is as vigilant but it is a legal requirement here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      I’m so glad to hear that, Robbie. The evidence is just overwhelming in favour of masks, yet here in Australia it’s only mandatory in my own state…because we’ve been hit by a big outbreak [for us].
      I think a big part of the problem is that a lot of Australians simply don’t see the virus as a threat. I was on Twitter yesterday and the level of sheer ignorance I saw there was mind boggling. 😦
      Stay well and stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • robertawrites235681907

        South Africans, as a nation, are very compliant. Our people still have tribal leaderships who have encouraged compliance. It is a good thing and has saved lives here, I am sure of that. We don’t know much about this illness yet but the second wave in Europe has started. At least the Southern Hemisphere gets more time to prepare.

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          You’re right, we have had more time to prepare, and learn from our geographic neighbours. That said, only parts of Australia are learning from the South East Asian countries. Mask wearing, hygiene and ventilation really do seem to be 3 key elements. Plus a social conscience. That seems to be sorely missing in some Western countries. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

  • Candy Korman

    Mask wash hands mask wash hands mask wash hands… try to keep physical distances from others. I live in a crowded city and we’re doing it here in NYC—and we’re pretty good at keeping the numbers down. It’s hard for me. No Tango dancing. No live music venues. No Theater. BUT… I’m going to museums with timed tickets and 25% occupancy that makes them feel empty. I’m enjoying the quality uptick in the street musicians and dining at tables outside my favorite restaurants. In other words we MUST adapt and do our best to stay safe and keep other people safe too.

    I’m appalled by the religious organizations fighting for big group gatherings and sometimes flouting the rules for their worshipers. Don’t they realize that they go out into the world after the big crowded Mass or the High Holy Day services and spread the virus to vulnerable people OUTSIDE their communities?

    Odd but true… On a completely personal level, I’m healthier than ever. I usually pick up every cold virus. Even with washing my hands between partners at Tango dances, I catch minor colds. I have not been sick since mid November 2019. All this social distancing and masks and hand washing… Don’t get me wrong, I want to live in a world where there is theater and dancing and music and crowds and Halloween parades, but not NOW, not until this is under control. Let the sunshine in! And let’s be sensible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      Spot on, Candy. I think New York is ahead of the game because you’ve had a terrible experience with covid already. You know it’s real. You’ve seen the parade of ambulances, and most people probably know someone who has died or whose loved one has died. Here, even in my state, there are those who simply do not believe it’s real…or as dangerous as it’s made out to be. They say things like, ‘I’m not worried about the case numbers’ and you know that what they really mean is that they don’t think the virus will affect /them/, even if they get it.
      -sigh-
      On a brighter note, a little normal is so much better than no normal at all. lol
      Stay well.

      Like

  • Gradmama2011

    Reblogged this on SOMETIMES and commented:
    Here’s an interesting and timely post from a blogger friend in Australia. Thanks for the share, Meeka.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Gradmama2011

    A lot to think about here. The example of Japan is especially interesting. I see the “relog button,” so am taking the liberty to share your excellent post to my site.

    Liked by 1 person

  • The Story Reading Ape

    The main factor, in UK, seems to be that every time more restrictions are announced, several days in advance, loads of people go out and party in huge crowds.
    Why?
    Because they want to have fun with their friends while they have the chance…
    SELFISH IDIOTS 🤬🤬🤬

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      -hugs- I know, Chris. It’s as if they have no concept of social responsibility. Actually, that’s exactly what it is. It’s all about their own, personal needs and wants. Bugger everyone else.

      Trust me, I’ve seen it here too. Sometimes it’s disguised as ‘oh, the virus is a scam’, but that’s just a convenient excuse. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

  • daleleelife101.blog

    What worries me is that with long school holidays and the festive season more people will be out and about more often and for longer… and will forget the boring old covid news. Already we’re seeing less covid-safe awareness. These holidays and long weekend just gone there were an astonishing amount of visitors in our local coastal region and at its attractions. I’m preparing to spend my summer safe at home with a stack of books.

    Liked by 3 people

    • acflory

      Yes, Christmas and the school holidays are going to be testing. The only thing I can hope is that being outside, the viral load will be a lot less so people won’t get as sick. Of course the down side of that is they’ll spread it to people who are more vulnerable. Like Boomers.
      There’s been a lot of bad feeling generated by who knows who about Boomers selfishly hogging all the wealth etc etc, so I can’t help wondering whether some of those younger people gleefully spreading the virus don’t have a bit of malicious intent? ‘Serves Boomers right’ kind of thing.
      It’s a nasty thought, but given some of what I’ve seen on Twitter, not so impossible.
      We both have health issues so we’ll be hunkered down at home until the vaccine, however long that takes. 😦

      Like

  • CarolCooks2

    A nice happy tune …sorely needed after the start to my day…I can’t believe nearly a year later that this virus is still around…:) x

    Liked by 2 people

  • davidprosser

    Fantastic information. Maybe everything might be less trial and error for a lot of people. Shame we can’t do something about the warm sunshine in Europe at this time of year. Thanks also for the music, good memories.
    Massive Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

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