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Old 07-08-2020, 03:30 PM   #1
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Could someone catch Covid while driving?

A car driving in front of you has a positive Covid-19 carrier. Can you be infected in a car behind this carrier?

Case in point: When I am driving around our city I can often smell somebody who is smoking in the car in front of me. That odor is expelled smoke and air particles from somebody's lungs.

Rediculous? Maybe and maybe not.
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Old 07-08-2020, 03:33 PM   #2
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Probably unlikely. Your nose is very sensitive to smells. IMHO, probably much more sensitive to smells than it is to being infected by a virus. And the smoke probably has many more particles than what an infected person would be shedding.
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Old 07-08-2020, 03:45 PM   #3
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That is a really interesting question. One could also ask if you can get it in your back yard if a neighbor is contagious, since just by breathing he or she could be spewing out particles containing the virus and they could just as easily be carried to your backyard by a breeze.

In the end I suspect that most people will end up with the virus, even if they have no symptoms. In New York City there were a lot of people who ended up positive but had stayed in their homes (this is The City so I suppose that mostly means apartments) and I guess the virus just got carried around by the air currents or the ventilation system.

We now have all of these new cases of the virus but I have not seen any information about how many of those cases are actually or essentially asymptomatic. And we have no real information yet about what percent of those who prove to have been exposed end up having symptoms. And I have no idea if I or my wife has been exposed.

We just try to act properly - we wear masks and gloves when shopping, I keep hand sanitizer in the car to use when we leave stores, we camp and stay well away from others and just wander hiking trails or walk around our neighborhood making sure we keep our distance from others. But in the end I am not sure it will make any real difference since I expect a slow but constant increase in the number of people infected.
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Old 07-09-2020, 11:57 AM   #4
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Put the AC in re-circulation mode and diminish the outside air coming in. Also in some of the newer cars there is a HEPA filter which should help.
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Old 07-09-2020, 12:16 PM   #5
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That is a really interesting question. One could also ask if you can get it in your back yard if a neighbor is contagious, since just by breathing he or she could be spewing out particles containing the virus and they could just as easily be carried to your backyard by a breeze.

In the end I suspect that most people will end up with the virus, even if they have no symptoms. In New York City there were a lot of people who ended up positive but had stayed in their homes (this is The City so I suppose that mostly means apartments) and I guess the virus just got carried around by the air currents or the ventilation system.

We now have all of these new cases of the virus but I have not seen any information about how many of those cases are actually or essentially asymptomatic. And we have no real information yet about what percent of those who prove to have been exposed end up having symptoms. And I have no idea if I or my wife has been exposed.

We just try to act properly - we wear masks and gloves when shopping, I keep hand sanitizer in the car to use when we leave stores, we camp and stay well away from others and just wander hiking trails or walk around our neighborhood making sure we keep our distance from others. But in the end I am not sure it will make any real difference since I expect a slow but constant increase in the number of people infected.
I think this is a lot easier to get than thought possible. While I am far from a worrier I don't want to pass this around if I was exposed. Those folks who holed up in the New York apartments thought they were going to be okay.
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Old 07-09-2020, 12:19 PM   #6
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Put the AC in re-circulation mode and diminish the outside air coming in. Also in some of the newer cars there is a HEPA filter which should help.
Thanks Wayne. Your suggestion is standard practice especially with all the diesel trucks (hurricane work) in our area.

I even keep the filters changed out. Wife and I cannot remember the last time we came down with something. Thankfully!
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Old 07-09-2020, 01:11 PM   #7
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I think this is a lot easier to get than thought possible. While I am far from a worrier I don't want to pass this around if I was exposed. Those folks who holed up in the New York apartments thought they were going to be okay.
Personally I think that eventually it will work its way through almost the entire US population no matter what precautions we take. It is just out there in the environment and there is no way to contain it.

That does not mean that we are not careful. We are very cautious and we have masks that we take everywhere, and we carry disposable gloves in both the car and the RV to use when we shop, but I just don't think that it will help in the end. It will slow the spread of the infection but there will always be some of it around and I just don't see how to completely avoid it short of getting in a rocket and moving to the space shuttle.

If those people in New York could get it staying in their apartments I don't see how anyone can avoid it except, perhaps, those people living in truly rural areas who don't travel and so don't get exposed. Still, we do what we can to keep ourselves and those around us safe.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:32 PM   #8
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If those people in New York could get it staying in their apartments
Well first, the NY strain was apparently more contagious than that originally on the West Coast. Second, I really doubt anyone actually stayed in their apartment for weeks on end, and any trip on an elevator would be problematic. But ventilation in the building could matter. If they didn't keep a negative pressure with fans I could see infections between units as a remote possibility.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:35 PM   #9
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Looking at how far it has gotten out of control, it is going to get to a lot of people, but our plan is to make as sure as we can to not be one of those! The longer before I get it, the more chances of there being a cure or at least a better set of treatments.
If I did survive, the thought of the resulting pain and possible brain damage is just not things we want to even risk just to go out for a good time.
But the question of getting it while driving is one of those risks and we need to think of what level of danger.
Driving down the road, any contamination coming from a car is going to be mixed with lots of air/ diluted which makes the odds of it getting to your nose, etc. far less than if you were in the same room with the same person.
I think they are calling it time, distance, and numbers. So the less time spent near others, figured in with distance, and the number of others probably makes the danger far less than going to an indoor restaurant. At that restaurant, you spend lots more time, far less distance, and lots of potential spreaders.
That's where sending my grandkids back to school will be a non-starter for my daughter. They will move to private schools with far better situations.
Her husband is a teacher and it is still being decided what his situation will be but she is taking chemo for another twenty weeks and the hazard is just too much to warrant the risk of on-site teaching for the pay involved. He is a special ed instructor and likes the job but not if it involves the potential to kill parts of his family!
If there is not some more reasonable option, he will simply have to quit and go back to his former job.
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Old 07-09-2020, 03:01 PM   #10
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Looking at how far it has gotten out of control, it is going to get to a lot of people, but our plan is to make as sure as we can to not be one of those! The longer before I get it, the more chances of there being a cure or at least a better set of treatments.
If I did survive, the thought of the resulting pain and possible brain damage is just not things we want to even risk just to go out for a good time.
But the question of getting it while driving is one of those risks and we need to think of what level of danger.
Driving down the road, any contamination coming from a car is going to be mixed with lots of air/ diluted which makes the odds of it getting to your nose, etc. far less than if you were in the same room with the same person.
I think they are calling it time, distance, and numbers. So the less time spent near others, figured in with distance, and the number of others probably makes the danger far less than going to an indoor restaurant. At that restaurant, you spend lots more time, far less distance, and lots of potential spreaders.
That's where sending my grandkids back to school will be a non-starter for my daughter. They will move to private schools with far better situations.
Her husband is a teacher and it is still being decided what his situation will be but she is taking chemo for another twenty weeks and the hazard is just too much to warrant the risk of on-site teaching for the pay involved. He is a special ed instructor and likes the job but not if it involves the potential to kill parts of his family!
If there is not some more reasonable option, he will simply have to quit and go back to his former job.
OF course there is the work being done on a vaccine and that may be available sometime around the end of the year (either before or after it) but I will still wait since I worry about side effects from an unknown new vaccine. I guess I worry that the side effects may be worse than COVID-19, at least until it has been in use and studied for some time.

We still don't know very much about this virus, and only now are they beginning to see that there are some blood types that are more resistant to it than others, and we still don't really know how many people catch it and are asymptomatic. Studies seem to say that people with O+ are more resistant to it than those with A+ but I have not seen any information on B+ or AB+, let alone the - blood types. They are just not saying much about this new information publicly, perhaps because it is too early to say anything about it for certain.

In the meantime I will continue to be very careful but to also keep in mind that the CDC's estimated fatality rate for it is very, very low, given that many more people have been found to have been infected and not to have known since they were either asymptomatic or had such slight symptoms that they did not know that they had anything other than a chest cold. That does not help those who have it and are suffering with it but it is the only potential bright spot that I see.
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Old 07-09-2020, 05:39 PM   #11
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I have a son who is looking at how his health has been and now looking at some of the signs, he feels he may have had or still has the disease as he has been suffering with minor "funny" things most all the time since March. He is out in the public a lot and it was not considered a really big problem in his Central Missouri area until fairly recently, so there was not any concern back in March and still little in the way of face mask unless you bring your own. But for a guy who has rarely been sick, he has missed about eight days already this year and just seems unable to perform like normal with doing small things. He would really like to get tested to see if he has had the disease or might still have it or what but is not able to get any of the tests, so is just left to decide if he should be out in the public or not.
He does tech work and what is most bothering him is that he can't look at tech info and remember it which has always been a strong point with him. How clearly we are thinking is not something we can put numbers on but he is worried that he has lost some mental ability!
Dying is bad but is it much worse than not being able to remember where you left your tools----at least when you are his age?
There does seem to be a lot of things they are not really telling us.
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Old 07-10-2020, 01:58 AM   #12
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Wow, Richard, your son definately be tested plus a thorough check up. It
May just be stress from worrying about the virus, he needs to see a good doctor, pronto.
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Old 07-10-2020, 07:54 AM   #13
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Wow, Richard, your son definately be tested plus a thorough check up. It
May just be stress from worrying about the virus, he needs to see a good doctor, pronto.
Yes, fully agree but testing is so hit and miss that he has not been able to get done what needs to be done. Setting in a line of cars for eight hours to get a test and then having the test come back days or weeks later is not really worthwhile testing, and it varies so much from place to place that there is just not much hope of us getting this virus under control until things change or we get a really workable shot, etc.
I just read an article in Forbe's better explaining the value of masks of different types and that seems to be the best move we have.
So, if one is truly worried about the virus getting to them, one is to encourage others to wear by wearing our own and when in a car, the small chance can be cut further by wearing the mask, even then.
It's just simple science and is political only if people choose that path.
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Old 07-10-2020, 08:01 AM   #14
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Yes, fully agree but testing is so hit and miss that he has not been able to get done what needs to be done. Setting in a line of cars for eight hours to get a test and then having the test come back days or weeks later is not really worthwhile testing, and it varies so much from place to place that there is just not much hope of us getting this virus under control until things change or we get a really workable shot, etc. .
I don't think the antibody test involves sitting in a line of cars since that would require a blood draw, not a nasal swab. The test he needs is whether he's had the virus, not whether he has it.
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Old 07-10-2020, 08:04 AM   #15
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Yes, fully agree but testing is so hit and miss that he has not been able to get done what needs to be done. Setting in a line of cars for eight hours to get a test and then having the test come back days or weeks later is not really worthwhile testing, and it varies so much from place to place that there is just not much hope of us getting this virus under control until things change or we get a really workable shot, etc.
I just read an article in Forbe's better explaining the value of masks of different types and that seems to be the best move we have.
So, if one is truly worried about the virus getting to them, one is to encourage others to wear by wearing our own and when in a car, the small chance can be cut further by wearing the mask, even then.
It's just simple science and is political only if people choose that path.
I was sorry to hear about your son's problems and I hope he starts feeling better. As others have said, perhaps it is nothing more than stress.

As for tests, perhaps I don't understand but I am not sure I see the value for someone who is not showing signs of having the virus. I may be completely wrong here but as I understand it the antibody test tells you if you have antibodies to the virus and thus have been exposed. It does not tell you if you have the virus or had the virus 3 months ago, so it doesn't tell you if you are contagious or not. It seems like a worthwhile thing for the government to know so they can collect statistics but I don't see the advantage for the individual. Again, perhaps I am wrong and misinformed, and that is certainly possible because of all of the bad information going around, but I just don't see the point for the individual.

As for the COVID-19 test itself, I have heard about an excessive amount of false positives and false negatives so I am not sure what the point of that is for anyone who is not actually sick. Of course if they have symptoms they should get a test so they know but why burden the system with testing people who have no symptoms other than to generate better statistics?

But perhaps I have some basic misunderstanding here.
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Old 07-10-2020, 08:14 AM   #16
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As for tests, perhaps I don't understand but I am not sure I see the value for someone who is not showing signs of having the virus. I may be completely wrong here but as I understand it the antibody test tells you if you have antibodies to the virus and thus have been exposed. It does not tell you if you have the virus or had the virus 3 months ago, so it doesn't tell you if you are contagious or not. It seems like a worthwhile thing for the government to know so they can collect statistics but I don't see the advantage for the individual.
There can be long term effects from Covid-19, including mental and organ issues. So the antibody test would be useful for determining if Covid-19 was a possible cause of symptoms or other problems.

I don't recall hearing of a lot of false positives/negatives except in the context of the early tests which were contaminated, and another whose approval was pulled.
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Old 07-10-2020, 08:19 AM   #17
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There can be long term effects from Covid-19, including mental and organ issues. So the antibody test would be useful for determining if Covid-19 was a possible cause of symptoms or other problems.

I don't recall hearing of a lot of false positives/negatives except in the context of the early tests which were contaminated, and another whose approval was pulled.
Thanks.

I have not been following the testing information closely so perhaps it is the early tests that was the source of the false positives/negatives that I remember. What I do remember reading was that they were administering 2 tests because the chance of a false negative was something like 25% and it required 2 tests to be sure that the test results were reasonably valid. Even then there was a 4% chance of a false negative.

Again, perhaps that was only the early tests and the newer ones are better.
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Old 07-10-2020, 08:31 AM   #18
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. What I do remember reading was that they were administering 2 tests because the chance of a false negative was something like 25% and it required 2 tests to be sure that the test results were reasonably valid. Even then there was a 4% chance of a false negative.

Again, perhaps that was only the early tests and the newer ones are better.
Part of what you might recall is that at first the test was run locally and then confirmed by the CDC.

I did find this article on the topic of false results, but it really doesn't give any percentages for the current tests, but does note no tests are perfect.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-...onavirus-tests

And here's news of a test with a 3% false positive issue, leading to suggestions of retesting.

https://www.wave3.com/2020/07/08/fda...ts-covid-test/
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Old 07-10-2020, 09:44 AM   #19
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If we look at places where they have been successful, we can see how the testing really can work. Japan is an example as they are more used to wearing masks and do follow government guidance much more closely than we do in this country.
When first alerted to the virus, they immediately went to their pandemic plan, started testing and isolating people nearly from day one. As a result, they never reached a crisis level as they found and isolated the first few cases and it never really got a head start.
With some just quick and carelessly rounded figures we can compare the results from two countries we often think of as "less developed" or lacking than ours.
Japan pop just about 52 million 981 dead
South Korea about 52 million 288 dead

But the US with only around 7 times the pop at around 328 million has 132 times as many dead as Japan and about 450 times as many as South Korea!
These are loose numbers and have a lot of slack, so it is not meant as precise figures but we have to think that we are not doing it right when we don't prepare, test, and wear masks when we have a 100-400 or more times as many dead as a relatively poor country like South Korea!
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Old 07-10-2020, 10:32 AM   #20
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If we look at places where they have been successful, we can see how the testing really can work. Japan is an example as they are more used to wearing masks and do follow government guidance much more closely than we do in this country.
When first alerted to the virus, they immediately went to their pandemic plan, started testing and isolating people nearly from day one. As a result, they never reached a crisis level as they found and isolated the first few cases and it never really got a head start. !
Our testing was set back by the CDC error (which i recall isn't the first time they've had this type of error). And also our "experts" were not recommending masks at first.

The other factor is personal behavior. Areas previously affected by SARS had people far more likely to act responsibly.
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