Covid-19

Again, I have to first apologize for not writing any posts for a long time.  As I mentioned in my last post, I am working on a project which is taking up all my time.  It’s still going but I decided to write this article while this subject is still relevant.

While I still cannot say what my project is, it involves designing a device to address an aspect of Covid-19.  While I am working on this project, I learned a lot about the pandemic.  So, I thought I share it with readers because it particularly applies to people with MCI like us.  If you have been following up with news closely, you may already know these issues.  But, for some of those who might be getting confused, hopefully, this article will help.

Vaccination is one of the most important prevention strategies in coping with Covid-19.   This is proven by the fact that those areas/countries that have been successful in administering vaccines widely show a drastic reduction in the infection rate.  While some people experience some side effects from vaccines, overall the risk is extremely low, so it does not make any sense whatsoever not to take it.  However, those of us with MCI need to keep in mind that it is not foolproof.  Once you are vaccinated, you have much less chance of dying from Covid-19, but you could still get infected.  It’s just that the condition will not be as severe.  However, they are finding that people who get infected tend to develop dementia.  So, even if you are lucky enough not to die from it, your underlining condition will accelerate brain degeneration.  So, we need to make sure not to catch it at all costs.

The next important thing to vaccination is wearing a mask.  There was a lot of debate about this earlier, but aerosols turned out to be the most serious transmission channel.  Viruses are carried by aerosols coming out of persons infected by the virus and they float in the air for a long time.  This is much more serious than larger droplets caused by coughs and sneezes which drop to the ground quickly.  So, while keeping 6 feet (2 meters) apart is still important, staying in a closed environment for a prolonged period without a mask is even more dangerous.  It should also be noted that the risk of infection is affected by the viral load (the number of viruses you are exposed to).  So, you could be close to an infected person without getting infected if the duration is very short such as just walking by him or outdoors where viruses are dispersed easily.  On the other hand, you could get infected by a person far away from you if you stay in the same room long enough.  This is particularly the case if you happened to be in downstream of the ventilation system.  The air could continually carry the viruses toward you, which would increase the risk of you getting infected drastically.  So, try to avoid staying in a confined area if at all possible. Also, even those people who are fully vaccinated could still be carrying the viruses.  Therefore, even after you and your friends are fully vaccinated and the health authorities lift the mask requirement, those of us with MCI should continue wearing a mask for a long time. 

One more important thing we need to keep in mind is the quality of a mask and the way we wear a mask.  You don’t need to wear a N95 mask but it should be good enough quality.  Covering your face with a bandana or scarf is not good enough.  Also, it must fit your face tightly.  Common mistakes people make are leaving a gap on the side of the face and not covering the nose.  If the mask is not moving back and forth as you breathe, most likely it is not giving you full protection.

So, we need to continue vigil with preventive measures but one place we can relax a little is surface contamination.  Originally, it was considered the main transmission channel.  However, it has been proven that it is not as serious as it once thought.  It is still important that we keep washing our hands and not touch our face with dirty hands, but there is no need to stay paranoid.  So, it is not necessary to continue wiping down grocery items or parcels with a sanitizer. 

So, the bottom line is that those of us living with MCI need to pay attention to Covid-19 more so than other people.  This is particularly important because we tend to forget the above measures, increasing the chances of exposure.  However, we don’t need to get paranoid and stop living our life.  Unless you are a frontline worker who has no choice but to expose yourself to dangerous conditions, we can live semi-normal life by taking care of ourselves by observing those basic guidelines addressed above.  We still have a lot to live for and should continue living our life the best we can. 

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