This one is pretty much superseded by "On the Covid-19 Pandemic" dated 4-4-2020.
The production of foodstuffs, paper goods, and other products is just as high now as it was before the COVID-19 scare began. There was plenty to go around, and still should be. Panic buying strips the shelves bare because those who panicked acquire way more than they did before.
THAT is why there is seemingly not enough to go around now: those who panicked took far more than their fare share. SHAME ON YOU!
As for masks, what the following article shows is that wearing a mask will NOT keep you well. What it shows is that masks keeps sick people from infecting those around them. In a hospital setting, it therefore makes far more sense to put the masks on the sick people in the beds. That would greatly lower the airborne virus-bearing particles in the air in those rooms where they are.
That conclusion goes against what people have been taught and trained to do, but you cannot argue with science and math. For well people to wear filter masks is only a psychological "sky hook" to make them feel better. Do it if you like, but you should know that it is scientifically pointless (you could not breathe through a mask that would actually stop a virus particle). Simple as that.
When faced with an epidemic of an infectious disease for which there is no cure, no preventative, and little in the way of known effective treatment, the only possible method of the coping is the same method of quarantining at one or another level that we have used for centuries. THAT is what "social distancing" and "shelter-at-home" are all about.
Those same centuries' experiences clearly indicate that this method works far better if you recognize the problem early and get started early with the quarantining. Delay, and more folks die. A lot more. We've known for sure this was coming since late December. We did nothing until mid-March.
It becomes a rock-and-a-hard-place choice: quarantine and wreck the economy, or don't quarantine and kill a lot of people. And don't end the quarantine too soon, or the epidemic comes roaring back. Centuries of experience say so. The lies from some politicians do not change those facts.
Your mothers and your churches all told you to value lives above money, that not to do so is evil! Yet we have politicians in office who clearly value money above lives. Don't listen to their excuses, look at what they do, or advocate doing. Then judge for yourself: do they advocate evil or not?
You do not need politicians who would do such evil, making decisions that control your lives. Those clearly do not care whether you live or die. Stop re-electing them! You don't need an amendment to have term limits. You have your vote.
Now, get on with the quarantine, and quit panic-buying and hoarding supplies!
Original start of posting:
The American response to COVID-19 has been somewhat irrational, once the delays and denials ended. There has been a rash of panic-buying of supplies that has emptied store shelves. Here's my take on that.
The widespread panic-buying of supplies is nonsense. Here's why, starting with stripping store shelves of paper goods:
Filters are a way to remove particles from a gas or liquid stream. The pore size of the filter determines the sizes of the particles removed.
Particles smaller than the pore size go right through, while larger ones get hung up in the filter material. This is just common sense physics. No point in denying it.
Paper inherently has pore sizes, which is why it is used for the various filter grades, including coffee filters. These pore sizes range from 2 microns to 25 microns. A micron is one millionth of a meter, or 0.001 mm, which is just about 0.00004 inches.
The so-called N-95 surgical mask, which is difficult to breathe through, is close to the 2 micron pore size. Most toilet and tissue paper, coffee filter, and kitchen paper towel materials would be closer to the 25 micron pore size. Automotive air, oil, and fuel filter elements fall in between.
I got this data from Wikipedia on 3-18-2020, specifically from the article titled "Filter Paper".
A sneeze generates up to 40,000 droplets varying from 0.5 to 12 micron diameter. A cough (or talking for 5 minutes) generates about 3000 of the same kind of droplets. Most of the droplets tend toward the large end of the size distribution (nearer 10 micron than 1).
So, any paper filter whatsoever will stop most, but not every, droplet from sneezes, coughs, and talking. This keeps confined the droplets from the person wearing the mask. It keeps those droplets from reaching those around the mask wearer.
It does very little to keep the droplets from other people off of the mask wearer, unless those others are very close indeed. In other words, surgeons wear masks not to keep themselves well, but to keep from getting their patients sick with anything they themselves might have!
I got this information off the internet 3-18-2020 at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK143281/, for which the book title is: Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health-Care Settings, and the specific section in the book is: Annex C Respiratory Droplets.
So what dangerous things could be in those droplets, or floating around in the air, or on surfaces other people have touched? Bacteria and viruses come to mind. Not much else.
The typical bacteria sizes range 0.5 to 5 micron, with the very smallest about 0.3 micron. I got this information from the Wikipedia article "Bacteria", as of 3-18-2020. Many of these will go through even the highest-quality paper filter, including the N-95 surgical masks. All of them will definitely go right through toilet paper, or a kitchen paper towel!
Viruses typically range from 0.02 to at most 0.4 micron in size. Most definitely all of these go right through even the highest-quality paper filter. I got this information off the internet 3-18-2020 from: https://www.britannica.com/science/virus/Size-and-shape.
So, given that situation, what is the point of well persons wearing masks to protect themselves from viruses, when those masks absolutely cannot protect them from viruses?
And what is the point of raiding stores for toilet paper and paper towels to make improvised masks, when they absolutely cannot protect you from viruses?
People seem to be doing that, on the basis of Facebook posts and YouTube videos. Those are claiming you can protect yourself that way, when it is simply not true.
Why are they lying to you? For profit.
The business model for those media has nothing to do with truth. They get paid when you click on their stuff, whether true or false. They get paid more when they feed you more and more of the same kind of stuff you already clicked on.
There are no enforcers-of-truth out there, because there are no rules governing the truth of anything posted. You have a better chance of getting the truth from mainstream media whose reporters are trained to journalistic standards, and who interview the real scientists and doctors.
We all need to stay away from crowds, and wash our hands thoroughly and frequently. (Plain soap and water is at least as effective as any hand sanitizer, if not more effective.) We do not need to panic-buy and hoard supplies, based on internet and social media lies-for-profit. This thing will pass.
But here's something else to think about. If your favorite internet and social media sources have been lying to you about coronavirus COVID-19, what else have they been lying to you about?