Stoneage Ramblings

By John R. Stone

This coronavirus business seems to be taking a wrong turn in some states.

A number of states are seeing jumps in reported cases, some of them pretty dramatic.

We are starting to learn more about how the disease is transmitted. The small droplets that we emit when we speak, laugh, cough or sing seems to be the most common form of transmission. There seem to be fewer cases that appear to come from people touching things that are contaminated.

This is an issue because the disease can be transmitted before a person knows he or she has it. That has been the big problem with this disease all along.

Dr. Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota, one of the world’s top epidemiologists, says that it appears that if one is talking to another person in close proximity for 10 to 20 minutes, the disease can be transmitted. The risk is less with shorter encounters, like passing someone on the sidewalk.

If people are inside some droplets may hang in the air where others can breathe them. Outdoors, the droplets don’t hang around as long.

This is where masks come in. If you wear a mask, even a cloth homemade mask, most of your droplets are caught by the mask and not sent out to others. A cloth mask, as opposed to a medical grade N-95 mask, will also catch some of the droplets coming your way if some else is not masked, but in those cases a mask is better than no mask but not as protective as a medical grade mask.

All of that depends upon how many layers of cloth the mask has and how tightly it covers the face and nose. The more gaps it has the less protection it offers.

There have been some interesting articles about masks. One test showed when two people wear masks, even just multi-layer cloth masks, the mask can offer protection as high as 70 percent.

I wear a mask when I know I’m going to be close to people or when I’m someplace where I don’t know if I’m going to be close to people but it could happen, like at the post office.

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It has been interesting to watch Minnesota’s numbers with its gradually opening versus those states that just threw the doors open to mostly everything.

I know that has been frustrating to businesses, especially restaurants and night spots. This summer with cancelled events will be hard on them.

Minnesota’s numbers of cases seem to be on a plateau where some states are seeing new case numbers double what they were a few months ago. Some are looking at some limited lockdowns. I hope our numbers stay flat.

Regardless of what governments say, many people will go out only when they feel safe going out. So a business that takes that kind of thing seriously will probably do better than one that does not.

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After four months I got rid of the coronavirus hair do. For a while I kind of liked the crazy professor look. One side curled, the other one didn’t. When I put on a hat to go to work or play golf what wasn’t covered stuck straight out the sides.

I did get tired of having tangled hair after taking a shower, I don’t know how our female friends and guys with long hair put up with that. I couldn’t.

I’ve never had hair that long. And yet by long hair standards it wasn’t much, it barely covered my ears. When it was fashionable back in the 1960s I was in the U.S. Army and there was no long hair there. Period. A haircut every week was the requirement except in Vietnam.

My barber, Paul Holtberg, said he has been cutting the hair of a lot of folks with long hair lately. When I was in there last week he had made some adjustments to a sign he has that now reads he has been in business as a barber for 47 years! That’s longer than many businesses up and down the street.

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Take care, be safe. Let’s try to keep that dumb virus from getting any of us sick!