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Mike 03

Mike 03's Journal
Mike 03's Journal
March 29, 2020

Maybe an interesting link: Air pollution and complications from COVID-19?

I was reading this article in the NYT:

Now Is the Time to Take Care of Your Lungs. Here’s How.

If you are one of the millions of Americans breathing polluted air, you may be at a greater risk of catching the coronavirus and of having a more severe infection.

The reasons are twofold. First, air pollution can cause or aggravate respiratory illnesses like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. And those illnesses can make you more susceptible to the worst effects of lung infections. Second, exposure to air pollution is known to raise the chance of contracting viruses in the first place, regardless of underlying health conditions.

“Increased pollution increases susceptibility to infection,” said Dr. Meredith McCormack, a spokeswoman for the American Lung Association and associate professor of pulmonary and critical care at Johns Hopkins University. “All things being equal, a person exposed to air pollution would likely have a worse outcome if they were exposed to coronavirus.”

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/climate/climate-pollution-coronavirus-lungs.html?algo=top_conversion&fellback=false&imp_id=412379994&imp_id=726837518&action=click&module=Most%20Popular&pgtype=Homepage

Out of interest I Googled "pollution Italy" because I recalled reading something about certain regions of Italy being very polluted, also environmentally contaminated. This study came up.

Air pollution exposure, cause-specific deaths and hospitalizations in a highly polluted Italian region

The Lombardy region in northern Italy ranks among the most air polluted areas of Europe. Previous studies showed air pollution short-term effects on all-cause mortality. We examine here the effects of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ?10 µm (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exposure on deaths and hospitalizations from specific causes, including cardiac, cerebrovascular and respiratory diseases.


As many of us will recall, Lombardy is the epicenter of the Italy outbreak:

Coronavirus death toll in Italy's Lombardy rises by around 416 in a day: source

ROME (Reuters) - The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in the northern region of Lombardy, the epicenter of Italy’s contagion, has risen by around 416 in a day to some 6,360, a source familiar with the data said on Sunday.

The daily deaths were down sharply from Saturday’s tally of 542, which was the second largest since the outbreak first emerged just over 5 weeks ago.

The number of cases in the region, which includes the country’s financial capital Milan, increased by some 1,592 to approximately 41,007, the source said.


I hope some epidemiologists are looking at whether there is a correlation between high air pollution and complications/deaths from the coronavirus (China, Spain, Iran?). Likewise, it would be interesting to know if countries that have fared better (Germany, to name one) have lower air pollution rates. I'm sure somebody has thought of this.

It may be nothing, but it just seems like an interesting area of inquiry.
March 21, 2020

Question: Could some peoples' immune systems be recognizing COVID-19?

You know these reports of people who are asymptomatic or report a 'slight cold"?

What accounts for the extreme differences among immune response, between a healthy 30 year old who gets severe pneumonia and someone who experiences few or no symptoms?

Is it possible that some people's' immune systems do recognize this virus and defeat it immediately, or don't even recognize it as a threat?

When a person has no symptoms, does that mean their immune system isn't even fighting it? Or does it mean their immune system fought it off so quickly that it never even rose to the level of becoming symptomatic?

Could we find out there are things some people (especially maybe younger people) have done that confer protection, like maybe having been exposed to animals, pets, or been exposed to certain viruses similar to this one in nature?

I know we can't know the answers for sure, but this aspect of the virus is interesting. I wish I knew more about how viruses work. Bats have thousands of viruses but don't get sick from them. Could some people who are not getting very sick already have had this virus, so it's not even perceived as an enemy?

March 21, 2020

You took the words out of my mouth when you compared it to 9/11.

It's hard to comprehend. I think my mind is doing some trick to protect me from deeply experiencing how dangerous and insane this is. It's not that I'm not terrified and depressed, but it should be a lot worse than it is. It's like watching "Apocalypse Now" for the first time, or something. I'm too busy taking it all in to know what I feel about it.

March 21, 2020

Speculation: Trump has this idea that if Ivanka is present at an event he's

less likely to be attacked, like she's some peace offering or has some magical power to calm people down, or maybe he thinks people won't attack him in front of his daughter. He's used her like this before.

Dr. Fauci is in an interestingly powerful position. He's the main reason 70% of the viewers watch these pressers. I think prior to the presser he strenuously objected to something Trump or Pompeo planned to say, resulting in the tension we saw. He isn't afraid of Trump but Trump needs him for his credibility.

But there were other things on Trump's mind, like negative press coverage, maybe something he saw on NBC or MSNBC that was triggered by Alexander.

Maybe Trump will fire Fauci at some point, but it would be the worst PR move ever.

March 20, 2020

Maybe, but I'm doubting it based on published timelines.

China didn't report a death until January 11.

It was identified and named in November, and it was formally announced the last day of December. The WHO definitely knew of the existence of COVID19 by the last day of December at the latest, and likely earlier, and notified countries around that time.

Accounts differ about when the WHO communicated with the United States. I've read New Year's Day and January 3.


DEC. 31

Chinese authorities treated dozens of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause.
On Dec. 31, the government in Wuhan, China, confirmed that health authorities were treating dozens of cases. Days later, researchers in China identified a new virus that had infected dozens of people in Asia. At the time, there was no evidence that the virus was readily spread by humans. Health officials in China said they were monitoring it to prevent the outbreak from developing into something more severe.

JAN. 11

China reported its first death.
On Jan. 11, Chinese state media reported the first known death from an illness caused by the virus, which had infected dozens of people. The 61-year-old man who died was a regular customer at the market in Wuhan, where the illness is believed to have originated, and he had previously been found to have abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease. The report of his death came just before one of China’s biggest holidays, when hundreds of millions of people travel across the country.

March 20, 2020

It supposedly survives the longest on stainless steel and glass.

Plastic is worrisome because it's ubiquitous in the modern world. I've read it's 72 hours for plastic and possibly 96 hours for glass.

There may be newer and more precise figures than these, which were based on SARS:

Maximum time SARS-coronavirus can live on various surfaces at room temperature
The novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is a close relative of SARS and likely has a similar lifespan on surfaces.

Surface Hours
Plastered wall 36
Formica (laminate material on counter tops) 36
Plastic 72
Stainless steel 72
Glass 96


Dr. Fauci said (initially at least) not to worry so much about mail because if there's virus on it, it would be attenuated or degraded by the time it gets to you, but he didn't account for what happens if your mail carrier or a sorter close to your house has it. I let everything coming into the house sit for a couple of days unless it's urgent.

March 20, 2020

Learning about Spirometers to enhance lung function

I just purchased something called an "incentive spirometer" on the recommendation of two kind DUers, OhioChick and Tavernier, on this very important thread by Meadowlander about nursing yourself through pneumonia at home: https://www.democraticunderground.com/100213134865#post7

This is a device that opens up the lungs and improves lung function.

On Amazon, they range in price from about $11 to $73. I settled on a unit that was around $39, not exactly knowing for sure what I'm getting, based on the reviews and the product description. There is a two week wait on the one I ordered, so others may be thinking about spirometers too.

It's a device you breathe through that challenges your lungs to work harder and open up. Most of them look small and are hand-held implements. Athletes use it and people with COPD, asthma, ex-smokers and others who want to improve lung function use a spirometer. It was recommended as a way to increase lung capacity and "open up" the airways within the lungs on the chance it might help prior to or during a bout of pneumonia. I don't know if having good or superior lung function can protect you against pneumonia. It is worth noting that several athletes have contracted the disease, but did they actually get pneumonia? I haven't seen any of the NBA stars hospitalized yet.

(Have any athletes diagnosed with COVID-19 been hospitalized?)

I'm posting this because I'd never heard of these before but they seem like a good way to prepare the lungs for a possible challenge, and one of the posters here said they can be used during a bout with pneumonia as well.

I'm NOT a doctor, just someone who is preparing mentally and physically to face the likely possibility I will get this thing. I'm also definitely not an expert on lungs, pulmonary medicine or anything like that. I'm just learning about this today. But maybe it could help somebody avoid or deal with this infection in the unfortunate event you get it and it tries to go for your lungs.

Here's a little bit more about spirometers:

An incentive spirometer is a medical device used to help patients improve the functioning of their lungs. It is provided to patients who have had any surgery that might jeopardize respiratory function, particularly surgery to the lungs themselves,[1] but also commonly to patients recovering from cardiac or other surgery involving extended time under anesthesia and prolonged in-bed recovery. The incentive spirometer is also issued to patients recovering from pneumonia or rib damage to help minimize the chance of fluid build-up in the lungs. It can be used as well by wind instrument players, who want to improve their air flow.

The patient breathes in from the device as slowly and as deeply as possible, then holds his/her breath for 2–6 seconds. This provides back pressure which pops open alveoli. It is the same maneuver as in yawning. An indicator provides a gauge of how well the patient's lung or lungs are functioning, by indicating sustained inhalation vacuum. The patient is generally asked to do many repetitions a day while measuring his or her progress by way of the gauge.


I think by getting an incentive spirometer I purchased the right kind. The others measure lung function but don't seem to challenge or improve lung function.

Here's more than you probably want to know about the history of spirometers:


By all means, anyone with advice about or experience with spirometers please jump in and correct any mistakes I've made or add detail.

Also, check that DU thread above about living through pneumonia.

Everyone, good luck. We have to stick together and share any details or tips we come across. Some of them may be very valuable in the days ahead.

March 18, 2020

A Coronavirus Public Service Announcement from Nirvana

STAY AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 18, 2020

You'd probably have to assign a value to each encounter, and figure out how many encounters

with other people this hypothetical person is having, and then look at the region and see what the infection rate is. But there are all sorts of unknowns. But it seems to me like risk rises with the number of close encounters (within six feet) and I wouldn't even know how to factor in the airborne component. Is the person mostly inside or outside, riding trains or jogging alone on the beach.

It's an interesting question. I don't even think we know what the infection rates are in most states due to lack of testing. So it would be impossible to say "X people are infected for every Y people who aren't infected." Not every person, obviously, you encounter is infected, but that number is rising every single day. So it becomes more risky with time elapsed.

The people dying today might have been infected three weeks ago and felt great until five or seven days ago.

March 17, 2020

Now our governor here in AZ is following him too.

That's why I wish people wouldn't complain like babies that Governor Cuomo is "on TV too much." It's precisely his exposure that's the reason Trump has no choice but to respond. This morning Cuomo directly addressed Trump. His technique is working.

He's doing a lot of good for many of us, especially those of us who live in red states with dumb governors.

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Modesto California
Home country: United States
Current location: Arizona
Member since: Mon Oct 27, 2008, 05:14 PM
Number of posts: 16,616

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