- Vaccines are welcome, but viruses can mutate.
- Quick and cheap home COVID tests should be a priority for individuals and governments as a complement to vaccines.
- COVID likely spreads through air – ventilation is critical.
Quick and Cheap Home Tests
It’s good that vaccines are progressing. However, it is possible COVID will mutate, and the vaccine will become less effective. While the vaccine is rolling out, the higher number of infections, the easier for the vaccine to mutate. I see widespread home testing as more socially acceptable than lockdowns, and better for the economy.
It is already possible to make home COVID tests for cheap. They are also accurate – not quite as accurate as a lab – but much cheaper and quicker.
If everyone could test themselves at home each week for a few euro per test, that would allow for early detection and significantly slow the spread – even if the strips tests aren’t perfect (btw, they aren’t far from perfect!).
Please comment below if you have information on:
- The regulatory status of home strips tests in Ireland, UK or EU.
- Where I could buy home test strips.
Lastly, on this point – a podcast I highly recommend from Lex Fridman with Michael Mina.
The Importance of Ventilation.
There is not full consensus on whether COVID is transmitted through the air or through surfaces. However, it seems likely that transport through the air is dominant.
There is a worthwhile podcast with Dr. Martin Bazant of MIT covering transport of the virus through the air, and you can listen here. I still pay attention to washing my hands, but here are a few other takeaways from this podcast:
- If you are outside, your breath typically rises and the air is well mixed, making transmission more difficult.
- If you are in a room, the virus will accumulate in the room as people spend time in there.
- Masks help (not just to stop spit/spray) but in slowing the rate at which you release the virus from your mouth/nose into the room.
- The air in a room is generally well mixed, so staying on the opposite room is not likely to help as much as you would like. Consider someone smoking in the corner of the room – you’re still going to smell the smoke from anywhere in the room.
- What will help reduce the amount of virus in the air of a room are: having windows/doors open, good ventilation, or an air filter.
Sometimes it’s too cold to open the windows, so I got a small standup HEPA filter (Amazon affiliate link) (that can filter viruses), with a UV lamp on it. This small unit can change out the air about a few times per hour. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s better than just sitting at the opposite side of the room to someone. I don’t understand why more people aren’t buying air filtration units for their homes.
Comment below if you bought a filter, or if you see things differently on why a filter would/wouldn’t help.
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