German Scientists Find That Acting German Spreads Coronavirus Less Than Acting Un-German

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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Urusigh says:

    “One pattern we are seeing across the globe is that wherever there was singing and dancing, the virus spread more rapidly,”

    …So, if they reboot “Footloose”, it can be a reality TV show, with a German doctor in place of the pastor? 😀Report

  2. Avatar George Turner says:

    There was a major super-spreading event in a Presbyterian choir practice in Washington State that convinced many that the virus has to be airborne, because everybody socially distanced and nobody shook hands or hugged (not that Presbyterians are known for any of that). The only thing they did was sing. Almost half of them got it.

    I hardly spread at all in Japan, a country where they have a martial arts centered on using a single sword motion to kill three people who fail to maintain proper social distance at a tea ceremony.

    Another factor about Germany is that throughout this outbreak they’ve had a very low case fatality ratio. A study up this morning used massive sampling of one hot spot to determine how many people were actually infected, and it came up with a real-world CFR of 0.37%. Numbers for Spain and Italy could easily be ten times higher.

    There’s been speculation that the initial dose rate may be a major factor in determining the severity and course of the infection, since quite a lot of young, healthy, front-line health workers have died from it. For example, another report this morning said a 20-something EMT and his coworker had both died of it in New York. If the initial dose rate is responsible for these outliers, then it could be that German behavior, though it is still exposing people to the virus, isn’t exposing them to very much of it. If you assume a spherical cow and posit that the viral density cloud around someone follows a square law, then more distance between people, limited exposure time (less chit chat), and greater attention to mask discipline might be responsible for their better outcomes, because the smaller initial viral load gives their immune systems more time to get ahead of curve.

    Some diseases, such as bubonic plague and smallpox, are known to have different outcomes based on the mode of infection. Airborne bubonic plague is called pneumonic plague, and it’s the only form transmitted from person to person without an intervening flea. Unlike the regular Black Death, pneumonic is almost 100% fatal in about three days. Even with modern antibiotics, i’ts been about 50% fatal because it kills so darn fast, sometimes just hours after the onset of symptoms, and usually within a day. If you have to choose, go with the flea route.

    Getting smallpox intentionally through a small cut, or rubbed onto a cheek or in the nose, (called variolation) is said to have had about a tenth the death rate of getting smallpox via the usual airborne pathway. More interestingly, in studies in the 1970’s doctors found that only one in twenty people who got infected via their mucus membranes (nose, cheeks, throat) went on to develop full-blown smallpox. One thought is that the severe form requires an infection from small particles inhaled deep into the lungs, and getting big particles in the nose and throat alerted the body’s immune system without that critical deep lung exposure.

    If the Pooh flu is similar to smallpox, it could be that those who get it by touching their mouth without washing their hands get the mild form, while those who get a big lungful first are the ones who end up on the ventilators. But we don’t know much of anything for sure because we’re all part of a crash research program in the middle of a pandemic. One week it’s not airborne, just transmitted through contact, and the next week it’s airborne and not transmitted through contact. One week chloroquine and Z-pack knocks it out, the next week chloroquine and Z-pack are useless except for causing heart attacks and death, and the week after that the drugs are good again. Facemasks were discouraged as useless right up until they made them mandatory. Sometimes I think that if I do everything the scientists say, I’m bound to get rewarded with a food pellet.Report

  3. I think this has also been evident when comparing Washington State to New York and Louisiana. People in Washington (Presbyterian Choirs notwithstanding) tend to be less physically demonstrative and more standoffish, the whole Seattle Nice thing. And even though it got here sooner, it’s spread much more slowly, thankfully.

    Though we did joke about it being good it didn’t show up during Hempfest or Bumbershoot.Report

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