I am one of the 40 percent or fewer Americans who have managed to avoid getting covid-19. I have avoided the potentially threatening force – I would say the plague, but I really do not interact with rodent diseases when I visit the West and Africa. As a counter-covid-19, I wear KN95 masks when I am out in public or in crowded situations. Today I am on the vaccine with my second course shot in May, which can provide a minimum of protection against infection, but mainly to prevent me from getting really sick if I were infected.SN: 4/29/22).
And yet I recently invited COVID-19 into my home. A relative came in who tested positive while vacationing here. He isolated himself in his hotel until it was time to check in, but instead needed to stay until it was safe to fly home, according to this quarantine and isolation calculator from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
She still tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in an at-home antigen test when she came to us, so I assumed my husband and I were contagious. I put it together based on research and interviews with experts. A recent study in New England Journal of Medicine found that people infected with omicron variants of BA.1 produced infectious virus for about six to eight days on average, with some shedding infectious virus for 10 days or longer.
We didn’t know what omicron variant my cousin had now, but we knew we didn’t want to catch it. Omicron carries a wider range of family members than previous variants of the recent concern JAMA Open Network to create a study For example, omicron had a secondary attack rate of 42.7 percent, referring to receiving family members who got COVID-19 from an infected person in the house. That beats the other highly infectious variants by a mile: Alpha’s rate was 36.4 percent and Delta’s 29.7 percent. And now the omicron subvariant, BA.5, can also reinfect people who have recently had COVID-19 (SN: 6/27/22).
So how do you escape the virus that has caught even those who will avoid infection in so many years? Many people are probably asking this question right now, since the CDC’s community transmission map across the country is red (more than 93 percent of counties report high community transmission), and my own guess — Anna Gibbs’ reported on the experts. ‘The advice to do after a positive test for COVID – constantly on Science News‘Most-read stories (SN: 4/22/22).
“There are a bunch of different options, and you could do one or more, depending on your state and how concerned you are about getting it,” says Linsey Marr, an aerosol scientist who studies disease transmission at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
The first option is to isolate the infected person from the rest of the family. For most people who are probably inside, they put someone in a room alone and close the door. Obviously, the extreme version of isolating our COVID-19 patient is by placing plastic sheeting on the wall from our guest room and using the guest bathroom as an isolation suite. Doing things as quickly as possible can help limit the spread of the virus in the home, Marr says. You don’t need to set up a plastic wall, though. Rolling up a towel and sticking it under the door can reduce the amount of air that flows in and out of the infected person’s room. It’s a strategy Marr uses when he stays in hotel rooms.
In our house, my cousin went into a secluded suite and emerged only to retrieve the food we left for him in a tray outside the zipper and to go on a short (personified) walk around the neighborhood.
But not everyone has the tolerance for such isolation or housing that allows for a sick ward. Even a free airline is not an airline, or its members need to take care of themselves. Our isolation suite is not for Marr’s 14-year-old son, he said. “He is very social. It would have been difficult to keep him in his room.
Don’t worry. Marr says there are many ways to keep the virus from infecting family members. Good quality face coverings, such as N95, KN95 or KF94 masks, can help keep the virus in check (SN: 3/25/22). “The first person to wear a person is infected because it acts as a source to get the virus out of the air,” Marr says. Infected family members can also use it as an extra layer of protection. My cousin kindly wore his mask when he was out in solitary confinement, and my husband and I were cloaked and bundled up when we skipped lunches and takeaway meals.
But Marr’s son was not keen on the mask, so his family took other plans. “We had a portable air cleaner and we carried it around with him wherever he was. We ate dinner together. We opened the window and had him sitting next to the window with a fan pointing at it to suck everything out of him. Their plan worked. No one else in the Marr family got COVID-19.
“Increased excitement, of course, is very useful,” he said. That might include opening windows when the weather permits, and running bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans. Showing an open window in an infected person’s bedroom will also help the virus reach the rest of the family. Open windows are not always welcome, especially if it’s too cold or hot outside or during allergy season or when other conditions lower the air quality. For example, “the outdoor air here assumes it’s not full of fire smoke,” says Marr.
Filtering the air can also reduce the amount of dust floating around the house. We put the portable air cleaner in a separate compartment. And we built a Corsi-Rosenthal box for the erratic virus that roamed the air in our space. The box is making you an alternative to expensive HEPA filters. We built ours out of four large air filters, a fan box and a cardboard fan box (for the bottom of the box and a cover for the top). Such cabinets aren’t HEPA filters, but they have a higher rate of clean air than many commercial machines because they move so much air, Marr says. However, the ark was not cheap to build. It costs about $130, with each filter under $25.
“Anything you can do will reduce your risk to some extent, and the more you lie about each other, the more you reduce your risk,” says Marr. It is also important that vulnerable people stay away from the infected person. Vulnerable people include the elderly, immunocompromised people or other medical conditions that put them at high risk of serious disease.
The good news is that once corrupted, the virus is probably gone. “The air typically does not stick in the house, even when everything is closed … for more than a few hours. It drips in and out,” Marr says. There is no need to buy special products for cleaning surfaces and laundry. “Soap will easily kill a man,” he said.
The relative positive line in the home antigen tests grew fainter and fainter, and finally disappeared during his stay. Now, more than a week after her departure, my husband and I are still feeling well and testing our negative results at home. It was not easy and certainly not fun (especially my cousin) to repel the pestilence within our walls, but it is possible. If the coronavirus invades your home, I hope you can escape too.
Stay safe out there!
#Heres #home #COVID19