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CHINA LEADS THE WAY AGAINST WESTERN EPIDEMICS|
It is sobering to read how a technologically and medically advanced Asian country, such as South Korea, could be stymied and grounded by a common cold virus, beginning with the first case it ever had on May 20, 2015, that doubled in the last one week to 150 cases, of whom 16 have died as a result.
Way back in 2002, when China grappled with SARS, it was in worse shape, as Western infectious disease specialists LAUGHED at Chinese men, women and children wearing home-made cloth masks, claiming that the virus was "airborne" and too small to be blocked by the crude masks, when in reality, the virus was NOT AIRBORNE, but DROPLET-BOUND, and tended to travel no farther than 6 feet from the infected person, unless he sneezes or coughs vigorously. One of the countries that sneered the most was, surprisingly, highly Westernized and modern Singapore, that had one of the worst cases of hospital-based infections, whose sad history reminds us of what is now happening to South Korea. They eventually wore masks like the Chinese did. And thus, in fact, Chinese common sense won the day, and today, these same Western "experts" recommend people wear "surgical masks" that are two to three paper-layers thick, when in China, mothers made cloth masks that were six-layers thick. So, the first lesson is, Koreans should make their own 6-layer thick cotton cloth masks that cover their nose from the root of the nose all the way down to below their chin, and are wide enough to cover their face, from ear to ear. Listen to your mothers' instincts, they were right for millions of years, before there were "experts" teaching them how to take care of their young. But face masks are just one barrier to the spread of this common cold virus made virulent by their having been "wild" in the bodies of bats, and then camels, and finally, human beings.
China built overnight huge, I mean huge, sanitariums for those who were exposed to potentially infected persons, and thus had to be quarantined for the duration of the incubation period of the virus, which is about 3 weeks, preferably 4 weeks. These patients were grateful for free medical care, free housing, and free food, plus free nursing care when needed. Their families were thankful that their loved ones could be cared for without their personal involvement, and risk of being infected in turn, or dying. Their neighbors, fellow students, fellow workers, and associates from all walks of life were grateful that their friends and loved ones could be cared for professionally, while they were protected from exposure to them. Yes, the current hospitals are simply inadequate to house quarantined victims, who require a very different type of care than regular patients.
And, despite the predictions of Western experts that China would lose the fight against SARS because there was, and still is, no effective vaccine against it, China won.
But beyond these public health measures, China also contributed its scientific skills to the understanding of this virus, and the Chinese CDC published several papers discussing how this virus is susceptible to deactivation by UV-A ultraviolent light for only about 15 minutes, to high temperatures of around 60 degrees Centigrade for 60 hours (2.5 days) to 120 hours (5 days), and that UV is more effective in humid environments, while heat is more effective in dry environments, but basically saying that the virus remains dangerous in the environment for only about 5 days before it denatures naturally. Armed with these facts, it is surprising that South Koreans are not deploying their superior technological skills in manufacturing UV-A lights to sterilize their air ducts preferably, and also around doorways and corridors. And if they can calculate the speed by which air can travel in a corridor in terms of meters per minute, they can calculate how many meters of such a corridor should be fitted with UV lights, at what distances from the center of the air flow, to sanitize the hospitals that were tainted with these viruses. Thankfully, the virus has remained confined to their hospitals, and possibly some halls (used by their legislators of all things for public meetings about the virus). Since humidity increases the infectivity of the virus particles, they should have dehumidifiers, instead of humidifiers in the common areas of these hospitals. Since cold protects the virus from sterilization, cold temperatures should be limited only to rooms certified free of the virus, and all other areas should not be cold-air-conditioned. Since the soil is better than metal in deactivating the virus, encouragement of air coming from the outside lawns would reduce the chance of re-infection within the buildings. Unfortunately, gluteraldehye is less effective than formaldehyde, and therefore fumigation with the former is less likely to eradicate the problem, while the latter is simply too toxic to even think of using. No humidifier. No air-conditioner. Whew!!! Unless the room is certified virus free, then it is OK. But everyone entering such an area must be screened, no colds, no coughs, and no nasal or throat congestions. Can MERS be contained? Of course.
If China can contain SARS, there is no reason South Korea cannot contain MERS. There should be more reliance on common sense public health measures, and less reliance on the opinions of Western so-called "experts", because if China had blindly waited for the vaccine to be made, it would have been overwhelmed by the SARS epidemic with probably tens if not hundreds of millions of people infected by it. Start with good, thick, wide and deep face masks, not the tiny token fig leafs over your nose and mouth that a determined fly can get through without any problem. Wash your hands, and remember, people sneeze and cough and their droplets eventually end on the ground, so it would be reasonable to keep your shoes and sandals outside your homes, preferably on a hot surface because heat kills the germs, or exposed to UV-A, or maybe, as some Chinese familied did, step them into vinegar solutions before letting them dry in the air. Right now, MERS is confined to Korea's hospitals, unlike SARS that had spread to the community. Apply real science and use common sense, but above all, don't wait for "advanced" Western science to tell you what to do, because waiting is the worst option, unless it is to wait for at least 5 days before entering a place that had been reported to have a MERS case before. But without other sanitizing measures, waiting 5 days is probably not enough to eradicate the epidemic, even if it may slow down its spread.