Massive study suggests that masks cut coronavirus transmission by 19%

And when I say “massive”, I mean n = 20,000,000.
I mean 92 regions across 6 continents.
With some really novel and sensible statistical work on all those phat, delicious data cakes.

And when I say “19%”, I mean… well… 19%. But that’s a fair chunk as well.

Remembering that the means to getting out of this pandemic are multi-factorial, and follow the “Swiss Cheese” approach:

…whereby none of the measures we try will be 100% effective (some maybe not even close), but using several methods together, we can really limit the spread of infection.

It doesn’t seem like rocket science (because it quite literally isn’t) to work out that somehow limiting the range of someone’s exhalations will result in a reduction in transmission of a virus which we transmit when we breathe out. And yet mask mandates, such as they were observed anyway (something which this study allows for), are being dropped all over the world as we attempt to return to normal life, and to “live with the virus”.

This move was always coming – it has/had to – and I’m all for that return to normal life, but there really doesn’t seem to be any allowance made for the huge morbidity (and yes, the ongoing mortality) from Covid-19. Not just “Long Covid”: no, I’m still not back to full health, 11 months, almost R100,000 of medical expenses and 4 cardiac screenings on from my infection.

We’re still finding new ways in which this virus is affecting the health of people post infection, and many of them are debilitating, chronic conditions: effects on the immune system, diabetes, cardiac conditions etc. Which raises the questions of how many more syndromes related to Covid-19 infection we still don’t know about, and how we plan to deal with the burden on our healthcare systems:

Yes. Like that.

So while I completely understand (and support) a return to whatever passed for “normal life” BTV, sadly (and unpopularly), I don’t think we’re actually ready for that just yet, and it would be very sensible to continue to do everything in our power to limit transmission of the virus until we actually know what else it has in store for us.

Promise made, promise kept

“The best way to keep your word is not to give it,
I don’t make promises ’cause promises die.”

said PM Dawn in the 90s.

Deep.

But I did give my word about 6 months ago:

…and so the only way to keep it was to follow through. And that’s what I did yesterday afternoon, before inviting Pastor Agony and his World of Pain Ministries to give me a day-long sermon today.

A few thoughts:

A year ago, this would have been mundane, routine. Yesterday, it took everything that I had. But I made it. And I fully recognise that it’s not a big deal to do this (and a whole lot more) for a lot of people, but these things are all relative. I’m going to slow down again now for a while. This just needed doing, it has been done, and now I can just gradually get back into gentle, shorter runs to continue to improve my fitness.

Post-Covid tachycardia is a real thing. I don’t need to go into details here, but that particular graph wasn’t particularly pretty for this run. And it continued to be particularly unpretty for quite a while afterwards.

On that note, if my heart does give up (and I really don’t think that it’s going to happen), please make sure that everyone understands that the virus is responsible:

Those with a history of COVID19 infection were more likely to have the following 12 months later: strokes, dysrhythmias (five different kinds), inflammatory heart disease (like myocarditis), heart disease (four different types, including heart attacks), other cardiac disorders (like heart failure), and clotting issues (like pulmonary embolisms).
The risks for each of these varied. For example, the risk of a heart attack was 63% higher among those with a prior COVID19 infection compared to those without an infection. The risk for myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) was 538% higher.

Don’t let the tin-foilers tell anyone it was the vaccine. In fact, go one step further and punch anyone that suggests it had anything to do with the vaccine – on my behalf, of course. Violence was never (ok, rarely) the answer when I was alive, but I see no reason to hold back now I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil.

And finally, the battle to get back to pre-Covid fitness continues. Just perhaps not at this level for the next few months.

But… I did it.

Day 724 – I’m Breathless

Remember that Madonna album based around the Dick Tracy film back in 1990? The album’s title came from her character in the movie: Breathless Mahoney, and while much of it was eminently forgettable, it did give us Vogue and the pisspoor Hanky Panky (featuring the line: “Nothing like a good spanky”).

Ah Jesus.

Fortunately, the 90s got better.

Anyway, I’m only mentioning it because today, I’m breathless. As in, just very short of breath. Now, we’ve been here before with these unexpected and uninvited Covid symptoms, but usually, they come all at once and then leave all at once. This one has popped in alone. Apart from the odd gasp, I’m feeling fine.

Yes, otherwise, I am well. Thanks for asking.

We walked on the beach, saw birds, walked the beagle and rockpooled: it was great fun, just all a bit of a struggle on the respiration front. Weird.

Hopefully, this disappears as quickly as Madonna’s terrible album and all will be right again by tomorrow.

Day 680 – Just popped in to say hello

Another blip on the recovery radar. Nothing big, I hope, but worth documenting. Today might be day 680 of SA lockdown (such as it still exists), but if I still had Covid, it would be Day 200 of that. Those adept at Kwik Maffs will already have worked out that my Covid Day 1 was Lockdown’s Day 480.
And yes, you’d be right.

Well, yesterday, Covid popped back to say hi. Thankfully, these episodes are becoming more and more infrequent, but all those telltale indicators were around once again. Weird tastes, breathlessness, aches and pains, chills, and the signature symptoms: stiffness in my hands and fingers, and absolute frikkin exhaustion. I was broken from about 5pm last night and in bed by 8.

Flattened.

A lot of sleep, but I’m still not mended. So today is all about taking it easy and making sure that I get over this and back to full health asap. Well, apart from the shopping trips and other jobs I have to do.

And tomorrow is all about another 5km. Fingers crossed (if I can do that, I know I’m better).

Right now though: a nap.

Day 650 – Run

A couple of months ago, fresh from a bizarre but promising appointment with a physician, I wrote this post, in which I declared:

I’ve set myself a goal: I’m going to run 5km in 30 minutes with my son on his birthday next year

With hindsight, I probably should have asked him first, but if it becomes necessary, I’ll just pull parental rank on him.

Anyway, that run seemed like a great idea until the next two months happened and I was – once again – rather unwell. Regular readers will recall that I even chucked myself at a local pulmonologist in an effort to get better.

It didn’t work.

But the last few weeks have been better, and so I thought I’d push myself with my first run since Covid: my first run since June 27th last year.

This was never going to be a pleasant or pretty experience. BTV, I was at a level of fitness which meant I could knock out 5km in 30 minutes with not too much nastiness involved. Those days are gone (for the moment, at least).

Today’s effort was a reasonably paced 1.5km around the neighbourhood in the summer sun, including some hill. Quite a lot of hill, it seemed, although the stats seem to suggest differently.

Could I have managed 2km? No. The lights were beginning to go out at the top of the third incline, and so I thought it better to come home.

It’s quite depressing when you compare it with last June, but it’s nice to still be able to do anything, and it’s a big improvement on that first doctor’s appointment above, in which:

I got up to 6kph on a slight upward slope, for a whole 150 seconds

For the record, this was 8.8kph – including some slope – for 615 seconds. Better.

I’m really not used to starting over like this (although…). It’s clearly going to take some effort.

But I am up for the challenge.