Covid 19, what we know and suspect.

Edward Taaffe
5 min readMar 19, 2020


“Much of what you read is either inaccurate ramblings or political spin. Hard facts without a disclaimer at the bottom is hard to find right now. I hope this helps.”

Clearly, our representatives are nervous about telling us the truth, so I did some of my own research in the news of more open societies than the one I live in and here is what I found.

The virus can survive and remain dangerous on hard surfaces like metal, wood, card, plastic for up to 72 hrs, though the likelihood is that it won’t happen often and risk reduces with time elapsed.
While heating it can quickly disable it, freezing it down to -20 degree keeps it safe and sound ready to bite when it thaws out. Frozen food: the obvious worry here; is never eaten without cooking thoroughly, so not a risk, but dump the packaging safely and wash you hands.

Door knobs, loos, taps (note of caution) and any hard surface touched by others can be dangerous for days. Again temperature and humidity weaken it. “Can“ ”does not mean “is”. Crossing the road is risky, keep this in context.
Be sensible all the same.

Never dry your hands and then turn off the tap, you will simply reinfect. Put better: always wash and dry thoroughly after touching a tap. No 1 risk area.
Pets don’t get ill; or show symptoms, but they may infect you. Keep them isolated too.
People assume that based on the above, mail is dangerous. Well apart from bills; the risk is very low, but not zero.
Packaging and fresh veg or fruit from the supermarket are very high risk and non-packaged bread, need I say it.
Wash everything thoroughly including retained packaging the moment you get home and then wash your hands.

Normal good personal and home hygiene are extra important now to minimise the risk from occasional breaches of protocol.
The culture of running bars and even food establishments is not at an all-time high due to low-pay, low morale and poor training. It makes sense to bring a packed lunch if you must leave home, or take home a bottle, but avoid glasses, tables and other obvious high risk surfaces.
Hairdressers have slipped a long way in the hygiene stakes in recent decades, I’d be wary.
There is strong evidence, though not empirical and respected by the WHO that certain drugs such as statins and ibuprofen as well as certain diabetes related drugs may be helping the virus to spread. Unless advised by your gP, I’d suggest thinking again about these drugs, but be advised by your GP, by phone please.
It’s tempting to make your own judgements based on your personal risk appetite, but you are also responsible for your impact on others. People spreading AIDS through carelessness have been dealt with via the law.
Be responsible and look out for family members and the community.

Isolation is itself a problem for many city dwellers who have never done it. Stay in touch by phone: Zoom; Skype, Hangouts etc with all your friends and keep them positive. Negativity drives errors and leads to catastrophe. Mental hygiene is equally important. If you don’t know how to use these tools now is the time to learn, they are about to become a huge part of everyone’s lives.

If you work form home, keep an online meeting open all day for casual chats and informal meetings just like work. I did this for years and it really helps.

The number one thing you will need if you get the illness is likely to be a respirator. We don’t have them, we left it late and now the whole world is panic buying. Surviving till the warm sunshine comes is a smart move as it may buy time for UK to get its act together. Don’t hold you breath, but keep your chin up and demand the best form leaders. If you are complacent they will be, that’s human nature.

I’ve been talking to some people online who reckon that apart from one component, a respirator can be built from available parts and that the one really scarce part can be 3D printed. There are people in the UK working on ideas to solve the problem also. Car makers around the world have turned their stuff to this problem too, it will happen.

Now that schools are closing and government is finally taking it seriously, there is an opportunity to control the spread somewhat, though we are even less prepared than Italy was.
Everyone doing their bit can have a big impact, we are all important parts of the machine.

Good news: apart from obvious risks of sudden satellite outbreaks, China seems to haves won the battle via very direct combat with it.
Total lock down, isolation, cleansing public areas, exhaustive testing, tracking and tracing everyone who contacted a confirmed case and the erection of huge hospitals were the tactics that worked. Similar tactics have worked elsewhere. China has restored its manufacturing base and is now providing vital drugs again to get the supply chain back. We rely on this in UK and shuld be grateful that someone was switched on and responsible.
Our cretins are still on the fence, staring lovingly at the pennies, but each day we see new concessions to sanity as the markets drift into fantasy land or rather reality land depending on your viewpoint.
There is hope for losses and suffering to be greaty reduced and we will come out the other side.

When we do we must show the character of the fifties to brush aside the societal sickness of the past few decades and bring back people power, quality of life and heads up with broad smiles once again.

There’s always a silver lining and we must focus on it.

For those who think of it as a monetary blip and buying opportunity, I say follow your instincts, but I hold with an old friend who wrote to me this morning to say: “ Normal is not coming back, but the new normal will be much better.”

Keep safe.



Edward Taaffe

Ed is a technical consultant and writer in the areas of Digital and Products. He writes here on random subjects that catch the eye.