Writing (31)
Lessons from the California wildfires: get ready early and leave before you have to

When a wildfire is close, the best thing you can do is gather your family, pets, and go-bag and get out. But how long does that take? And how do you know when it's time to go? With much of California still burning after last week's lightning storms, CalFire's fire tracker says over 1 million acres have burned so far. Many Californians are facing choices about when to evacuate, where to go, and what to bring along. Over the weekend, I spoke via Zoom with Ralph McLaughlin, a native Californian

2 comments
The Hunala app can help you forecast your COVID-19 risk

There's a new app in town, and it might be able to help you accurately evaluate your risk of contracting COVID-19 without violating your privacy. It's called Hunala, and it was designed by Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, a physician and professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale. The idea behind Hunala is to leverage Dr. Christakis' experience with sociology and network science to forecast a person's risk of contracting COVID-19 based on their behavior, location, symptoms, and social networ

0 comments
How a Three Gorges Dam collapse (or more flooding) could impact supply chains

For a few weeks now, we’ve had our eye on the Three Gorges Dam, a true feat of human engineering, and the largest hydroelectric dam in the world. The Three Gorges Dam generates 2% of China’s electricity, and that’s remarkable, but it’s not why we’ve been watching the dam. China has experienced a lot of rain lately. And even though it’s very hard to know what’s actually happening with the dam and what the risks are, folks have been worried about what all that rain could do. First

1 comments
Thinking about buying a car? There’s a shortage of those, too

Because of the numerous supply chain problems with everything from food to consumer goods, many of us have been carefully planning our purchases ahead of time in a multistep process that involves budgeting, prioritization, checking inventories for in-stock notices, and using upgraded shipping options to avoid USPS delays. Well, now we can add cars to the growing list of goods for which we need these pandemic-specific shopping techniques. The entire US is facing a temporary car shortage, broug

1 comments
Dr. Bradley Garrett has bugged out: A conversation with the “Bunker” author

Publisher Simon and Schuster would like you to believe that Bunker: Building for the End Times is a study in the most extreme forms of prepping. The book’s jacket promises it will be “chilling” and “eerily prescient.” The cover itself pictures a set of concrete steps that open on a possibly-post-apocalyptic world. When Simon and Schuster sent us an early copy of the book, which goes on sale on August 4, for review, this was the first thing I noticed. It looked like the end times were

3 comments

Load more...
Discussions

Thanks for your question, and thanks for reading! The researchers themselves seem to be a little puzzled by this (and so am I). Here’s a direct quote from the study: “Air was sampled for all of the six patient rooms, but all of the air samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2. However, 3 (50%, 3/6) of 6 samples from air exhaust outlets in three rooms were positive for SARS-CoV-2 (Table 2). It appears that the patient surroundings in rooms with a SARS-CoV-2-positive air exhaust outlet are usually extensive contaminated (26.7% to 95.7%). It is possible that small virus-laden particles may be displaced by airflows and deposited on patient surroundings as suggested previously (4).” In their conclusion, the researchers also note: “All of the six rooms were maintained under negative-pressure conditions, which may have provided a false feeling of safety and may have led to laxity with respect to essential measures such as environment cleaning. Such a false feeling of safety is potentially harmful and should therefore be avoided. We are aware of limitations in this study. Although we collected 1,500 liters of air for each air sample, that amount represents a low volume compared to the whole space of the room. We tested only for viral nucleic acid and did not perform viral culture to test viability. Despite the limitations, we believe that the findings reported here may help to guide prevention and control of COVID-19.” Basically, negative pressure is a system hospitals typically use to prevent contamination. The air pressure in a room is then lower than the pressure in the hallways, etc. so air can get into the room but not out of it. The researchers’ main point in this study about the negative pressure rooms was that having ‘negative pressure’ might give everyone a false sense of security. It might mean nurses do a less thorough job of cleaning. I’ll keep an eye out for any follow ups to this study, and we’ll make sure to cover new research about air transmission!


Load more...

Thanks for your question, and thanks for reading! The researchers themselves seem to be a little puzzled by this (and so am I). Here’s a direct quote from the study: “Air was sampled for all of the six patient rooms, but all of the air samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2. However, 3 (50%, 3/6) of 6 samples from air exhaust outlets in three rooms were positive for SARS-CoV-2 (Table 2). It appears that the patient surroundings in rooms with a SARS-CoV-2-positive air exhaust outlet are usually extensive contaminated (26.7% to 95.7%). It is possible that small virus-laden particles may be displaced by airflows and deposited on patient surroundings as suggested previously (4).” In their conclusion, the researchers also note: “All of the six rooms were maintained under negative-pressure conditions, which may have provided a false feeling of safety and may have led to laxity with respect to essential measures such as environment cleaning. Such a false feeling of safety is potentially harmful and should therefore be avoided. We are aware of limitations in this study. Although we collected 1,500 liters of air for each air sample, that amount represents a low volume compared to the whole space of the room. We tested only for viral nucleic acid and did not perform viral culture to test viability. Despite the limitations, we believe that the findings reported here may help to guide prevention and control of COVID-19.” Basically, negative pressure is a system hospitals typically use to prevent contamination. The air pressure in a room is then lower than the pressure in the hallways, etc. so air can get into the room but not out of it. The researchers’ main point in this study about the negative pressure rooms was that having ‘negative pressure’ might give everyone a false sense of security. It might mean nurses do a less thorough job of cleaning. I’ll keep an eye out for any follow ups to this study, and we’ll make sure to cover new research about air transmission!


Load more...