This is a reference list of recommendations for avoiding the warm and welcoming if overly suffocating embrace of Corona-chan.
Disclaimer: NOT MEDICAL ADVICE!
Corona Survival Guide
Follow coronavirus news and be prepared to alter behavior
Note that I compiled a list of resources for tracking the pandemic. If your country/region is conscientious about testing, and there are no cases in your city/region, there’s no need to radically alter behavior.
Conversely, if/when it comes to your city or region, you need to start altering behavior.
Do not fear changing behavior out of a desire not to appear “weird” to normies. First, even for a young person, contracting SARS-CoV-2 is about as dangerous as taking 500 flights on a Boeing 737 MAX, so you’d want to avoid that if possible; and there is also a chance of long-term health impacts, such as lung scarring and male infertility. Do not let social hangups get in the way of your health. Second, it is highly contagious; on average, under “normal” conditions, one person infects three or four others (versus 1.3 for the flu). Third, containing an epidemic is a group effort. By social distancing, you will be doing your bit to lower r0 and “flatten the curve”. By wearing a face mask in public, you will be signaling that it is OK to do so and encouraging less courageous souls to don them as well. This translates into saving lives – it’s one of the most effortless “Effective Altruism” actions you can undertake.
If you are infected, don’t panic – it’s not the end of the world. If you’re young, you might have a rough month but you’ll almost certainly make it. Even if you’re in your 80s, you’re still more likely than not to win your game of Russian Roulette.
Important Corona lore
In the event that you suspect you have COVID-19, self-isolate immediately and seek medical advice.
Although there’s uncertainty over this issue, it’s best to avoid taking ibuprofen if you are subscribed it for an ordinary fever – better suffer through that, than risk much worse effects if you actually have the coronavirus.
I need hardly tell my high IQ readers, but beware of miracle cures. Too often they turn out to be of dubious efficacy, if not downright snake oil. There are varying opinions on hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin treatment; all I will say is don’t experiment with self-medication unless you really know what you’re doing.
Transmission can occur through respiratory droplets (aerosols), contact with contaminated surfaces, and the fecal-oral route. It mainly, but not exclusively, occurs from symptomatic patients.
The main risk factor for COVID-19, superseding all others, is age. Other factors include tobacco usage, diabetes, and other serious medical conditions. If you fall into these elevated risk groups, approach self-isolation even more thoroughly than you would otherwise, and try to impose said restrictions on elderly relatives.
Try to minimize your IRL contacts.
- Work from home if possible – should be feasible for most office jobs!
- Do your shopping online if possible.
- Avoid large gatherings – Restaurants, clubs, gyms, shopping centers, sport events, ski resorts, protests, etc.
- If IRL meetings unavoidable, no handshakes/hugs! Alternatives: Elbow bump; bowing; Vulkan greeting; Roman salute. 😉
- Level up your hikikomori skills: Reading, workouts, e-learning, video games, Internet shitposting, etc.
- General advice: Assume you are ALREADY INFECTED and act on that assumption.
Hygiene & Behavior
- Avoid touching your face. (Incidentally, face masks can help with this).
- Try to avoid door knobs, railings, etc. to the extent possible. Simple expedient is to use your sleeves.
- In particular, be wary of cell phones – coronavirus can survive up to 96 hours. If you’re constantly swiping on your cell phone, suggest regular disinfection with screen wipes.
- Avoid people with signs of pneumonia (coughing, sneezing, etc.) and people not wearing face masks (where applicable).
- Wash hands after restroom, meetings, and handling objects.
- Vigorously wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
- No hard evidence that hand sanitizer is significantly more effective than soap, but use that if no faucet is available.
- Don’t share food/drink, culinary items (cutlery, plates, mugs, etc) & personal hygiene items (towels, etc.) with other people.
- Close toilet lid before flushing.
- Make sure to get adequate fresh air and sunlight to reinforce your immune system.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Contrary to Western officialdom until late March, masks do work. Japan avoided an Italy-scale outbreak just through the simple expedient of having most of the population wear them
- AK: Corona-chan Didn’t Care Until I Put on The Mask
- Sam Watkins: #masksforall
- Scott Alexander: Face Masks: Much More Than You Wanted To Know
Ideally, you’d want to wear an n95 (FFP3) respirator and airtight goggles when going outside, especially to indoors and potentially crowded locations such as supermarkets, clinics, and government offices. You don’t need many n95 respirators since they can be reused. Store them in a ziplock bag when between use, and isolate them for a few days at a time to kill off any coronavirus. (Place in oven at 70 C for 30 mins for quicker solution). Do also note that n95 respirators need to be airtight – that means they need to be properly put on (YouTube this), and you’ll need to remove any facial hair.
That said, even surgical masks are very effective (may even be reusable by soaking in 30w/v % salt solution).
Furthermore, as Scott Alexander points out, for n95 respirators to be more effective than surgical masks, you need to know how to put them on. Apparently, this is far from trivial; even the majority (65%) of healthcare workers fail at it, which is little different from the performance of the general public (76%). Although a poorly fit n95 respirator is, of course, still far superior to nothing, functionally it is nothing more than an expensive surgical mask.
Sadly, many countries dallied with building up face mask production capacity, so for many people acquiring the above items may not be feasible right now, due to price gouging or sheer unavailability.
Until that is fixed, I would strongly suggest figuring out a way to get homemade masks. Get grandma to sew you one (and a few more for herself and family/friends), or do it yourself.
- fast.ai Forums: Resources for making home masks
- Wear a homemade mask to slow the spread of COVID-19
- What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks?
- SCMP: How to make your own mask: Hong Kong scientists reveal temporary solution for those unable to get protective gear because of panic buying and price-gouging
Ultimately, even just wearing a scarf wrapped around your mouth and nose is far better than nothing.
If even that is not possible, at least have the common courtesy to sneeze/cough into your elbow when you have to.
Life in the Age of the Plague
Having a stockpile of non-perishables on hand is a good idea, and is widely practiced amongst “preppers”, survivalists, and some religious communities like Mormons.
You don’t need many people to run the agriculture, food processing, and transport industries, so there shouldn’t be major shortages during epidemics except short-term ones borne out of panic hoarding. This makes life during epidemics more “comfortable” than during many other cataclysms, such as natural disasters or nuclear war.
However, there are still excellent reasons to get your supplies in on time – reducing grocery shop visits, which carry the risk of contagion and may even be restricted under especially severe lockdown conditions. Internet shopping will be no panacea either, since they companies will suddenly have an order of magnitude more customers spread out across a limited number of delivery people. As such, I recommend obtaining two weeks to a month’s worth of essentials, such as:
- 20+ kg of carb staples (rice, pasta, buckwheat, etc) per person.
- Frozen meat/fish (steak can be dry aged in the fridge).
- Multiple bags of coffee and tea; bottled water, soda pop, alcohol, weed (if you’re into that), etc.
- Stocks of vitamins.
- Cleaning liquids, washing machine/dishwasher pellets, paper towels, and yes, toilet paper, I suppose – though why not get a shower bidet already, you filthy peasants.
Familiarize yourself with plague lore: The Decameron, Camus’ The Plague, and Stephen King’s classic, The Stand; Richard Preston on Corona-chan’s more bloodthirsty but impulsive sister, The Hot Zone; Russian cult classic video games Pathologic and the more recent Pathologic 2, as well as Plague Inc. video game; zombie movies (my favorite is REC); and Contagion, perhaps the most realistic movie on what a pandemic would look like.
Most importantly, follow the right protocols: Say a prayer to Papa Nurgle and poast “I LOVE YOU CORONA-CHAN!” in the comments.
- Adam Rizika: Best way to combat coronavirus is to agree on norms to create safe spaces for families/groups
- The Prepared: COVID-19
I haven’t seen these recommendations being made anywhere in particular – send feedback, may upgrade them to recommended suggestions if warranted (or delete them if not).
- Avoid hand dryers. Actually, it’s good advice regardless – they’re disgusting. But coronavirus is also transmitted fecally, so you don’t want that shit-flecked air all over your hands. Just let them dry naturally if no paper towels.
- Keto diet helps? (“Higher glucose concentrations induced a dose-specific increase in influenza infection. Linking influenza virus infection with glycolysis, we found that viral replication was significantly reduced after cells were treated with glycolytic inhibitors. Addition of extracellular ATP after glycolytic inhibition restored influenza infection. We also determined that higher levels of glucose promoted the assembly of the vacuolar-type ATPase within cells, and increased vacuolar-type ATPase proton-transport activity. The increase of viral infection via high glucose levels could be reversed by inhibition of the proton pump, linking glucose metabolism, vacuolar-type ATPase activity, and influenza viral infection.“)
Since this blog post will be buried underneath future posts, I will also keep a duplicate at my website, which may be updated in the future: https://akarlin.com/corona-survival/