Indoors or Outdoors: which is the Safer!
By Philip Hayward:
This is an open letter to both health officials and citizens groups who are trying to make sense of Covid mitigation policy. It started out as something else; Gary saw a copy and wanted it turned into a blog post.
Gary: here is a quick summary with some editorial liberties:
The safest place to be is in the Great Outdoors.
The least safe place to be is indoors.
Poor ventilation increases the risk.
Philip reminds me of the chest hospitals and sanitoriums of the last century, with rose gardens where the ill would lie back and rest in the sun and fresh air. He reminds me of the "Sunshine Schools" design of post-WWII primary schools: Northwards facing, with large windows that open wide, and outdoor seating to relax and eat (you can still see some examples, such as Oraka Heights Primary School in Putaruru). I think of the health camps for sickly children, funded by postage stamp sales. My, how little our health policy experts know, with beginning ignorance of our own history of health care!
There has been a lot of controversy and concern over orthodox Covid mitigation policy. The focus has been on early treatments for Covid that have been suppressed, and the merits and risks of the novel vaccines that have been developed in short order and been selected as the primary strategy. Accordingly, well-credentialed experts raising legitimate concerns have become celebrities of sorts; Dr Peter McCullough, Dr Robert Malone, Dr Sucharit Bhakdi, and so on. Such people feature as guests in interviews and webinars around the world, including in New Zealand.
However, there is an over-arching failure on the part of the expert officials that is being missed, and this omission by concerned-citizen bodies is compounding the officials failure. However, it is this point on which the public is most likely to be awakened, and officials pressured to change course. I refer to the most basic point of how Covid-19 spreads in the first place, and how this also affects the severity of infection and the likelihood of death.
The orthodoxy about contact, droplets and surfaces has been wrong all along. There are numerous experts who were publishing on this from at least mid-2020; and they were also trying hard to get the WHO to accept the reality from early April 2020. The work and advocacy of people like Lidia Morawska, Jose-Luis Jimenez, Lynsey Marr, and Maurice De Hond should have turned them into celebrities with concerned citizens groups, but it has not; they have remained as unknown and unthanked warriors battling away out of sight.
Here is the ultimate collation of research on the subject of indoor environment risk from buildup of virus aerosols:
That is from the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, who are taking legal action based on this research, regarding the risk of their own working environments.
The best "starting reads" linked from there, are these:
Please read both of these essays. Concerned Citizens groups in NZ like Covid Plan B, NZ Drs SOS, and Voices for Freedom, should take note. The officials should take note but they are under no pressure to do so - yet. Intuitively, Kiwis will understand that fresh air and sunshine and greenery are first-line therapeutics, and that it is absurd and completely opposite to actual science to insist that "being outdoors" is risky of itself. Also, it is superfluous to be wearing a mask outdoors except in situations of close proximity where a lot of vocalizing is occurring, shouting, cheering, singing, and so on.
I was impressed to note that Dr Peter McCullough and his numerous co-authors did in fact include the following paragraphs of advice in their first (July 2020) paper about early treatment options for Covid-19; McCullough et al, “Pathophysiological Basis and Rationale for Early Outpatient Treatment of SARS-CoV-2”.
Reduction of Self-Reinoculation
"… COVID-19 exists outside the human body in a bioaerosol of airborne particles and droplets. Because exhaled air in an infected person is loaded with inoculum, each exhalation and inhalation is effectively reinoculation....We propose that fresh air could reduce reinoculation and reduce the severity of illness and reduce household spread during quarantine. This calls for open windows, fans for aeration, or spending long periods of time outdoors away from others with no face covering to disperse and not reinhale the viral bioaerosol."
I strongly agree with this, on the basis of circumstantial evidence from data and anecdotes. A number of people will have died because of self-isolating in a small unventilated space such as a bedroom, "to protect others". It is also the case that people in quarantine in NZ and Australia who actually had a Covid infection when they arrived, have got sicker with it than otherwise because of the small size and lack of ventilation in the room where they were confined, and the concentration of virus aerosols certainly made it more likely for staff to become infected when a door was opened, for example. Not to mention air ducting within the buildings potentially transferring the virus from one room to other parts of the building.
Dr McCullough has not really got involved on the specialty subject of aerosol spread, which is a pity because someone with his profile could have spread a lot of enlightenment by now. For the future, improving ventilation and air treatment in indoor environments would mitigate the risk from any virus for which the main vector is aerosol buildup indoors, as a first line before we even work out what treatments are effective (even getting to use them is now subject to prolonged political and commercial maneuvering). Because of a policy fad for two decades now for "energy efficient" buildings, and government policy to increase energy prices to limit energy use (much more so elsewhere than in NZ), we have been heading in the wrong direction on the "V" in "HVAC", and the aerosol-vectored virus that arrived in 2020 certainly hit harder because of this. There is an interesting character in New York, Alexander Riccio, who has been independently measuring the CO2 content (a proxy for ventilation) in bars, restaurants and public venues, and pursuing the New York public health authorities under Official Information requests on the issue of why they are not doing any policing of long-established public health standards. Riccio has found levels of CO2 well above that at which it is medically understood to result in brain damage. No wonder some places are more vulnerable to Covid.
I have been following this science closely and have discussed the subject on Medium.com for more than 16 months. Aerosol-spread experts are not controversial and are not experiencing censorship as far as I am aware. Official bodies in various countries have come round at different times, with the WHO finally admitting in late April this year – a whole year too late – that they had been wrong. However, as the linked articles above relate, the WHO has done this very quietly and has not emphasized it, to the extent that national officials in many parts of the world are still like generals trying to fight World War One against the Taleban. Australia and New Zealand are particularly egregious examples.
While the aerosol scientists do not appear to be getting suppressed by Big Tech’s censors, they have been extremely circumspect in discussing the implications of official failure, and they remain generally ignored by the mainstream media. However, it is controversial and it will risk censorship, to point out the obvious connection between the official failure, and the large proportion of total Covid deaths that could have been averted by the right strategies but were merely delayed or even worsened by the wrong strategies. For example, prolonged indoors confinement of the elderly in nursing homes that were poorly ventilated; and residents in crowded rental housing who would normally come and go, and keep out of each other’s faces, but who were suddenly sharing each others pathogens 24/7. Some of these people are of course also essential workers, including in Nursing Homes. Oops. In fact utopian urban planning policies from which crowding is an “unintended consequence” have also played their part in this tragedy.
Furthermore, the overly broad lockdown strategies themselves caused orders of magnitude more collateral damage than policies targeted at fresh air and ventilation would have. Numerous businesses and building owners would have greatly preferred the option of costly investments in more powerful HVAC and air treatment systems, versus having their investment and their life’s work completely destroyed. Amazon and Zoom and Pfizer have profited mightily but the HVAC sector should have been engaged in an “Apollo Project” with government assistance by mid-2020 (Maurice De Hond calls it “Plan Ventilation”), and instead has been incurring economic damage indiscriminately along with other economic sectors.
If we understand all this, we can think through how this failure of orthodoxy is even responsible for surprisingly inconsistent vaccine efficacy. The way the vaccines were trialed did not take into account the peculiarities of how aerosols do or do not cause severe or deadly infection, seeing this was completely ignored by the official experts. The breakthrough infections now are happening in conditions that doubly prove that aerosol buildup indoors is and always was the major problem. For raising this question, I was swiftly banned permanently from Medium.com.