Social Distancing, Herd Immunity and R0

Photo by CDC on Unsplash ebola

I have been posting about hand sanitzers, wiping down gym equipment and social distancing on my blog since at least May in 2009. There are all kinds of germs, bacteria, viruses and diseases covering every square space on our planet. Some stick with plants. Others live in water and will thrive on things that live there. Some live in animals and often only one kind of animal. The problem comes when the little nasties jump species and we usually learn about them because the new species, real estate, is the human body.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash orange red virus

I am popping in images from the CDC within this post. I do not know why viruses have to be so darned beautiful to behold.

In May 2009 I wrote Swine Flu a Case for Social Distancing

Just before you panic, and panic is not recommended by the CDC, try a little Social Distancing. This practice of staying home if you feel sick, not shaking hands and compulsive hand washing was practiced during the flu pandemic in 1918. Considering the huge death toll, I do question the effectiveness of this technique, but, still, if you are well enough to be out and about, don’t be out there randomly shaking hands, hugging or otherwise engaging in germ spreading behaviors. Carry the hand sanitizer in your pocket or purse and use it, often.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash swine flu

Social Distancing is a good idea, at least for now, and always use protection if you do find yourself in a germ sharing situation. The CDC has regular updates. Please comment, add your tips on avoiding illnesses.

October 2009 Flu Venom 

I have never had a flu shot. I have been tracking the news for months. Recently some schools closed, some kids were hit hard and unless a family has good health insurance and a low co-pay, flu is flu and unless things go bad, no one knows exactly what kind of flu they had.

We installed hand sanitizers in our cars and pockets and have the most sterile hands in town. We have a healthy paranoia of using the pens at the check out counters. As a family, I suppose we are on Orange Alert.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash ebola

January 2013 Social Distancing, 7 – Elevens and Department Store Flu Shots

I go to a lot of trouble to avoid those nasty germs.  My favorite method is called Social Distancing.  Let me share a bit about this avoidance technique.  I’ve posted about this before, but it is a new year.

We installed hand sanitizers in our cars and pockets and have the most sterile hands in town. We have a healthy paranoia of using the pens at the check out counters. As a family, I suppose we are on Orange Alert.

Back to Covid 19

Covid 19 has taken over the world. It has become the center of our lives and these days people are becoming short tempered about being cooped up and cut off. The mood has shifted from fear to anger and restlessness.

There is a lot of talk about Re-Opening the Country. This makes people even more anxious to get back to our Pre-Covid World.

One thing I see drifting to the surface is called Herd Immunity.

COVID-19 science: Understanding the basics of ‘herd immunity’

Herd immunity is disease-specific and is influenced by the ease with which the disease spreads from person to person, or the level of contagiousness.

The specifics about coronavirus and herd immunity are not yet characterized. Regardless of the specifics, achieving herd immunity by the repeated process of infection of one person, recovery and immunity will take a long time – many, many months or even years.

How fast and how far can Covid 19 spread? Well.. I’ve seen the R0 as high as R3 and as low as R2. For the graphic below Covid 19 is given the R0 of R2.3. For comparison the chart has the data on some other very contagious diseases.

graphic of R0s of various viruses

Scientists use R0 – the reproduction number – to describe the intensity of an infectious disease outbreak. R0 estimates have been an important part of characterizing pandemics or large publicized outbreaks, including the 2003 SARS pandemic, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. It’s something epidemiologists are racing to nail down about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

I am going to leave you now, to get on with your efforts to save the world. Stay safe, stay busy and for goodness’ sake, don’t touch anything sharp!

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.