26 May 2022

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Is this the most misunderstood issue with Covid-19?
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Is this the most misunderstood issue with Covid-19?

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It does seem to be a question which people like to answer to their own best advantage!

We have been told a lot of things about Covid-19 since it started and in particular how it can spread. Sometimes the information we have been given is contradictory which causes some confusion.

However when examining the most high risk times when Covid-19 could be spread, it seems to be undeniable that certain conditions favour the spread a great deal more than others. What I have in mind particularly is when people get closer than 2 metres to each and even more risky when they get closer than 1 metre to each other. Why is that? Well because we are told the virus is spread in droplets and as we all know, every time we exhale, a quantity of water vapour in the form of droplets is expelled into the immediately surrounding atmosphere.

We all breathe in what others breathe out.

If a person coughs or sneezes, then the amount of water vapour is exponentially increased along with the amount of breath exhaled. That means more droplets and therefore more risk of transfer of the disease. Did you know that an unshielded sneeze can cause exhaled breath to be spread several metres from the sneezer?

We are told that if we wear facemasks, this greatly reduces the incidence of transfer of disease because the droplets get caught in the facemask of the person breathing and to some extent also get caught in that of the person who might be breathing in your breath. So, although when the pandemic started the wearing of facemasks was shrugged off, it does now appear that this is a valuable protection – one which, by the way, is being observed across the globe.

We are told that it is more risky for people to be sitting opposite to and facing each other than, say, at right angles or more preferably back to back. Why is that? Well our infected droplets go straight to the person we are with if we are facing them.

Another thing we are told is bad in relation to transmission of the disease is to be in a lesser ventilated room for an extended period of time, something like 15 minutes. Why is that? Well, as you breathe out your droplets accumulate in the atmosphere which means more droplets and if they are infected, then the likelihood of transfer of the disease is heightened.

We are told that it is much better to be in a well ventilated room than one where there is not much air movement. The reason is given above. So leaving doors and windows open is a good idea to get a through draft. Better still, meet outside where the risk of containment of your droplets drops significantly.

There is also a risk of transmission by means of contact so an infected person could infect an item which someone else then picks up; germs are transferred and then the second party touches his face or mouth. Whoops! Virus may have been transferred. A lot of store is set by this; that is why supermarkets disinfect the handles of their trolleys between customers.

How are we doing so far?

If we pick up these items of advice and apply them to our daily lives, where is probably the most likely circumstance of transfer of the disease from one person to another?

I do not think it takes a genius to come up with a good answer to that – it is when people sit down together at a table for a meal. That can take place in a home or at a restaurant or café or in a pub. Lots of places in fact where people want to go in numbers.

Why is this the case? I suggest the following in the order of the advice mentioned above which we have been given:

  1. At a meal, the likelihood of sitting 2 metres apart from everyone is remote unless you live in a baronial mansion. Indeed you may be pushed to be even 1 metre apart. I wonder how many people have taken out a tape measure and checked it out for themselves. You will be surprised how big a distance 2 metres is!

  1. Let us say four people sit down to a meal. What is the likelihood of no one coughing or sneezing for the duration of the meal?

  1. We do not wear facemasks at meals. Of course we don’t. If we did we would be unable to eat or drink!

  1. How many restaurants have open doors and windows to create a through-flow of air? It varies of course from none to good ventilation depending on where you are and, in particular, the time of year. How often have you been in a restaurant and seated near a door which constantly opens to allow people to pass through. So annoying!!

  1. How many meals last less than 15 minutes? Indeed how many last an hour and a half?

  1. How often do people dining together not sit facing each other?

  1. At table, people pick up things like the salt and pepper, the wine bottle, moving items about the table, perhaps passing around the menu. One person has Covid-19; the others could be infected by contagion.

How am I doing?

What do you think?

You decide.

So when I hear owners of pub companies and now even MPs, as we did on national television this morning, say that dining out in restaurants is completely safe, I wonder where they have been. In fact it is difficult to imagine an environment less safe, or is all the advice we have been given just wrong?

It is a sad fact but hospitality owners keep going on about how their restaurants are safe. What basis have they got to argue that having seen the advice above?

The same people say how dreadful it is that the young people are being punished because the pubs are closed when there is zero [sic] risk of them getting the disease. And this means that they cannot go and see their families and grandparents. Well, if all the restrictions are lifted then going to see grandparents won’t matter as they may well now be dead due to passing on the disease.

But perhaps that does not matter? Let’s face it, if you want to simply carry out a mass cull of the population over 55, why not just be honest and say so and let’s get on with it. It won’t matter if the NHS is overwhelmed – they will just die more quickly. The deaths will be nothing more than collateral damage.

Should we be thanking those Members of Parliament and business entrepreneurs who have only their businesses in their minds for being so clear with their intentions?

I shudder to think what the outcome of a “free for all” Christmas is going to be.

If you had been alive in the Second World War in the blitz, if a German had given you a bomb to take home and explode instead of trying to drop one on your house, would have taken it?

It is as simple as that!

Remember – every encounter is a risk! Mind you, two people dining on the beach facing at right angles with no one else about might just be the safest option available.

Adrian Leopard 29-11-20

Photo Zack Marshall

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Adrian Leopard & Company is the trading name of Alderney Offshore Ltd, a company registered in Alderney, Channel Islands number 1220.

Address P O Box 1027, Alderney GY9 3AS

Registered Office Seldomin, Longis Road, Alderney GY9 3YB.

Adrian Leopard & Co is represented in the UK by 3CL (UK) Ltd trading as Adrian Leopard Associates.

Telephone enquiries may be made on 08449-4-08449 or 01684-230360.

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