Fitfully Frustrating Falderal – Going Viral

30 May 2020

Can you relate?

Got a pandemic? Get some quarantine and throw in anti-social ‘distancing’ to round out government policies. There! Wasn’t that easy?

Got an airborne pathogen? Spray shopping carts with Lysol, require the wearing of surgical face masks (of course, a sweaty bandanna is also acceptable), follow those arrows in the grocery stores, and be sure you stand where X marks the spot on which you are to stand.

Do you feel safer now?

For months, it’s been an uphill trek to get to the summit of Mount Factmore.

You know what microbe that is at the heart of this story. I don’t have to even mention it’s CDC-given name.

No, Costco, wiping my fingerprints off the gasoline pump will not spread the virus. No, Tom Thumb Stores, following your arrows that direct shoppers to follow the one-way paths up and down your store aisles has any benefit whatsoever, apart from encouraging your shoppers to look elsewhere.

In a conversation this week with a registered professional engineer I put forth an engineering problem to be solved.

The problem: An infectious waterborne microbe is heading into the city water supply, which of these actions would the engineer choose?

  1. Hire crews to scrub down all the drinking fountains
  2. Scrub the water

For the engineer, the choice is simple: scrub the water. Why? Because the microbe is moving through the water.

The present virus is an airborne pathogen. It has no feet and cannot walk about shiny surfaces. It is in the AIR. Its preferred means of travel is to ride tiny aerosols (droplets) propelled into the atmosphere by the coughs and sneezes of infected people.

Knowing the virus is an airborne pathogen, does it not make sense to scrub the air? This make sense to an engineer. Even a genuine scientist appreciates the simplicity of the solution.

Meanwhile, thousands of defenseless senior citizens die miserable deaths in nursing homes, isolated from loved ones.

In my own Texas county, 100% of deaths due to the virus that shall not be named have been in one nursing home.

Governing officials, not being engineers, promote testing for the virus. Does not the test come at the end of the class and not at the beginning?

Thankfully, a few government officials are now listening.

I lose a lot of sleep, but I never lose hope.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

Published by John White

A lifetime (over 50 years) of experiences with automation and control systems ranging from aerospace navigation, radar, and ordinance delivery systems to the world's first robotic drilling machine for the oil patch, to process-control systems, energy management systems and general problem-solving. At present, my focus is on self-funding HVAC retrofit projects and indoor air quality with a view to preventing infections from airborne pathogens.

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