Bruce Rayner: COVID-19 and common sense |

Bruce Rayner: COVID-19 and common sense

I’ve been following this COVID-19 thing from my isolation in the mountains of California. What is missing from all the hysteria in the media is a dose of common sense. If you have the stupidity to sit in a line of hundreds of cars to get tested, you need some common sense.

Getting tested only tells you if your symptoms are real, not if you’ll be safe for another few days. Tests tell the data collectors where COVID-19 comes from, but that no longer works, nobody can keep track anymore. The “positivity rate” only tells you how many of those tested are positive. Meaningless. Unless you think you’re positive, why get tested? What will that tell you, other than you’re toast.

What is important is when you enter Grocery Outlet, what’s the chance there is any virus in the air from an unsuspecting, asymptomatic but infectious shopper?

Next, if you inhaled a bit of that viral load, how can you know in advance of testing or symptoms like a fever, if you might be infectious, or heading for COVID-19? There is no publicized test for an advanced warning that you might test positive in another few days. Still, there is some good research on advance warnings and simple things to watch for.

Type into Google for articles: “COVID-19, detect during incubation with oximeter.” We’re in for some good common sense here. People are just learning about the value of these little $40 oximeters you can use at home. Best you read some of the articles, as it turns out that a drop in blood oxygen level from your normal level is something to take seriously, like around 93%.

Even if you are on your way to an asymptomatic case, you need to know when to go to the ER, or rent an oxygen machine and stay at home. Asymptomatic doesn’t mean you may not escape lasting damage to lungs, brain, other organs; COVID-19 was designed so that you don’t feel those effects … now.

A lot of what you can find on Google is science reduced to common sense. The concept of “viral load” is a measure of how much virus you can inhale before catching COVID-19. Fortunately, your immune system can dispatch a small amount of the coronavirus. But don’t push your luck. Being careful, masking up and going in a store for a few minutes; low risk.

Getting into a crowd at a bar for an hour, you’ve swamped the protection of your immune system. Once your immune system is down for the count, the very virulent coronavirus is free to reproduce in your body, making you a spreader, though without symptoms. We’re told wearing a mask protects others but it can protect you too, by reducing your inhaled viral load. That adds up, so go to the store today, then skip a day before going out again.

Remember your oximeter. Keep your oxygen level up as it helps ward off damage to your lungs, once COVID-19 is in your body. Read those articles. Know when to go to the ER, if you can quarantine at home, and if you are infectious.

Bruce Rayner lives in Nevada City.

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