COVID-19 DECON Procedures

The CDC’s COVID-19 FAQs page contains some good information, but it’s repetitive, wordy, and FAILS to provide the step-by-step procedures required for proper training and execution of entering and exiting contaminated environments i.e. everywhere outside the interior of your home.

In fact, our government failed to give us the PROPER orders, a set of clear, simple directives that WOULD have worked if they’d diseminated it in January and given both the people and the media plenty of “How To” videos along with the time to practice.

The CDC’s “Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands!” is only ONE key element of about 12 which, if followed, would have left the U.S. AT WORK and kept us down to less than 10% of our current infection rate.

It’s not about any one step, but rather, about the order in which you accomplish the requisite steps. You must also:

  • Consider all of outside, including your parked vehicles, a “Red Zone
  • Create a decontamination “Yellow Zone” at an entrance nearest a shower
  • Perform the right decontamination steps in the right order to maintain yourselves and your home’s insides a contamination-free “Green Zone

Before we continue, I need your help, on two fronts, for legal and biological protection of yours, mine and ours:

  1. Read the User Agreement and Disclaimers. It’s up to you to do your own research, make your own decisions, and bear the responsibility for your own actions.
  2. Use common sense. There is absolutely zero warranty, here, implied or otherwise.

Dr. Fauci says, “the virus is determining ‘the timeline’ for the pandemic.”

While that’s true in the sense that no one can rush the healing of those who’re infected — the infection must run it’s course — we can nevertheless dramatically reduce infections by changing behavior.

Yes, staying home works, except for two things:

  1. People aren’t doing it.
  2. It’s crippling our economy.

Essentially, that’s the “throwing the baby out with the bath water” approach, if not a “cutting off the head to cure a headache” approach. There ARE ways of doing things to optimize economic health while minimizing adverse medical impact. We operations management types call it a “Mini-Max” solution.

Doctors, even Fauci, have been very myopic in terms of “minimizing the viral outbreak at all costs.” They see medical cases, but they’re not seeing the forest through the trees. They’re not seeing how wrecked economies and poverty kill people, too.

TRUTH: If everyone wore full-face P100 masks and knew how to follow basic CBRNE procedures, the entire WORLD could go back to work RIGHT NOW with ZERO fallout.

PROBLEM 1: We don’t have enough P100 masks, or even N95 masks.

SOLUTION: Use the next best thing, including whatever masks people do have at home, what they can buy, or what they can make. Patterns exist for homemade 100% cotton two-layer masks. Are they 100% effective? No, but neither are N95 masks. They do, however, catch significant amounts of droplets containing the SARS-CoV-19 virus upon both inhalation and exhalation. We don’t know to what extent, but doctors wear them to protect both the patients and themselves during surgery, so they can’t be all that bad, right?

Thus, we don’t need for everyone to have an N95 mask. We do need everyone wearing basic surgical masks.

PROBLEM 2: Most people have no clue as to what “basic CBRNE procedures” are, much less how to follow them.

SOLUTION 2: These instructions.

Combining 100% cotton surgical masks — washable i.e. reusable — with the right procedures will knock the virus infection curve down to less than 1% of what it is in just 14 days. That’s IF, of course, EVERYONE follows these instructions to a “T”.

While the following steps are relatively simple and straightforward, they are not intuitive, so focus! Enlist the help of your spouse and kids to let you know what you’re doing wrong!

BACKGROUND

Members of the military receive extensive initial and periodic refresher training in Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Environments (CBRNE). This training includes the nature of each threat, protective gear, and the pros and cons of its use in these four environments. It also includes a rather exhaustive (106) list of steps to be performed in the right order in the Contamination Control Area (CCA), which consists of five separate zones/areas (Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue and Additional), each with upwards of 4 separate stations.

If you want to strain your brain, by all means, examine them here:

In the meantime, I’ve spent a few days condensing them down into steps we call can follow in our home environments.

IMPETUS aka REASON FOR ADOPTION

Generally speaking, it’s impossible to predict how well any country will come out of this until the total inactive cases (recoveries and fatalities) exceed about 20% of the total confirmed cases:

Inactive Ratio = (Recovered + Fatal) / Confirmed Cases

Currently, only five countries worldwide meet that criteria. For the other 190+ countries worldwide, things are still just getting started, and the fatality rates among confirmed cases range between about 4% for China and 10% for Italy.

Put simply, you do NOT want to get this virus. The odds of surviving it are better than surviving Russian Roulette, but not by much. Sequestration, isolation and mitigation measures have proven highly effective, provided people follow them. They must remain in place.

If everyone wears a mask and follows proper decontamination procedures, however, there’s no reason everyone has to stay at home. In fact, allowing people to go without masks or use decon procedures to get groceries and take care of loved ones is FAR more risky than allowing everyone to return to normal lives provided they wear masks and do decon.

South Korea and China have done a GREAT job of isolating people, identifying active cases and aggressively treating the victims. We can and should learn a great deal. Peck’s knee-jerk and rather heavy-handed “Shut it off!” mandate in Ghostbusters, however, was NOT the right course of action:

Sound familiar?

Let’s get to work. I’ve written the following in a similar format as the expanded aircrew checklists we use in aviation:

PREPARATION OF ENTRY, LAUNDRY AND SHOWER AREAS

  1. DOOR – DESIGNATED: If possible, designate one door for entering your home from a potentially contaminated environment. Entry should be on hard flooring, near a bathroom, with the path between them distant from common living areas.
  2. OFF LIMITS SIGN – POSTED: Designate the area “Off Limits” except for entering and exiting the home. Treat both the entry area and the laundry area as potentially contaminated areas. If you have things in that area you frequently need to use, move them to another area of the home before commencing operations.
  3. BLEACH SOLUTION – PREPARED: Add 1 TBSP of bleach and 3-5 drops of Dawn Liquid Detergent to half a gallon of water in a nice, stable bucket. Place it near the entry.
  4. SCRUBBING UTENSILS – PREPARED: Place an old washcloth and a long-handled scrub brush in a 1/2 qt or 1 qt plastic container. An empty tub of sour cream or potato salad will do nicely.
  5. LAUNDRY BASKET – PREPARED: Place a clean, all-plastic laundry basket (no fabric or wicker) near the entry.
  6. SHOE BIN – PREPARED: Place one or more low-sided plastic bins for holding shoes near the entry.
  7. COAT RACK – PREPARED: Place your coat with keys and wallet on a coat rack or coat hooks near the entry. Ideally, use a simple fleece coat. They’re easily washed, and don’t pill if you hang them to dry instead of using the dryer.
  8. CLEAN CLOTHES – PREPARED: Before heading out, place a complete set of in-home clothes just outside the bathroom, but in a clean area of the home.
  9. ENTRY AREA – POLICED: Do not allow anyone to enter or linger near the entry area, laundry area, or within 6 feet of the path connecting the two, unless they are prepared to exit the home and return by going through decontamination procedures.
  10. SHOWER AREA – PREPARED: Ensure the bathroom door is open, the shower curtain or door is open, and you can walk straight into the shower without touching ANYTHING.

EXIT TO THE CONTAMINATED ENVIRONMENT

  1. CLOTHES – ON: Don your normal clothes.
  2. GO BAG – PACKED: Grab whatever you need while heading out, such as a smart phone, shopping list, emergency supplies for a trip, and place in a washable nylon gym bag.
  3. WATER – PACKED: Drink plenty of water before heading out, but place a couple of water bottles in that go bag, just in case.
  4. MASK – ON: Don a mask. The mask goes on before handling anything that may have been contaminated during a previous trip.
  5. EYEWEAR – ON: Don glasses/sunglasses.
  6. SHOES – ON: Don your shoes.
  7. COAT – ON: Don your coat with wallet and keys in the pockets.
  8. EXIT: Leave the home, enter your vehicle, and drive away. Don’t forget to shut the garage door!

RETURN FROM THE CONTAMINATED ENVIRONMENT

  1. HOME – ENTERED: Enter home.
  2. OUTER CLOTHES – HUNG: Hang up jacket with keys, wallet and smart phone still in the pockets.
  3. SHOES – OFF: Place shoes in low, flat SHOE BIN while keeping mask and glasses/sunglasses on your face.
  4. SHOES – SCRUBBED: Using washcloth and/or scrub brush, clean the bottom and edges of the soles of your shoes with the mild bleach solution. Return shoes to shoe bin.
  5. OUTER CLOTHES – OFF: Remove outer clothes (down to underwear) and place them in laundry basket.
  6. MASK – OFF: Remove mask and place in laundry basket.
  7. EXIT TO BATH: Enter bathroom WITHOUT TOUCHING ANYTHING
  8. SHOWER – ON: Start shower and wait for the water temp to stabilize.
  9. SHOWER: Step into shower. Take a deep breath, then hold it while keeping eyes closed and wetting and finger-scrubbing your hair. Before inhaling, tilt face up and rinse thoroughly.
  10. EYEWEAR – OFF: Remove glasses/sunglasses, rinse thoroughly from all sides, and set on top of counter.
  11. SHOWER – FINISH: Continue showering normally (about 3-5 min).
  12. HOME ENVIRONMENT – ENTERED: Exit, towel dry, don inside clothes, and return to home environment.
  13. FLOOR – MOPPED: Mop the hard flooring of your decontamination area at least once a day.
  14. SMART PHONE – RETRIEVED, CLEANED AND RECHARGED: Being careful not to stir your jacket too much, retrieve smart phone. Before laying it down or handling it, wipe it with a cotton ball or folded toilet paper square slightly dampened with 70% alcohol.
  15. HANDS – WASHED

DECONTAMINATING GROCERIES

Note: This applies not only to groceries, which may have been handled by multiple COVID-19 infected people before you put it in your basket, but it also applies to any items you’ve bought outside your home and are bringing into your home. This includes your own personal items, including your smart phone, ear buds, sunglasses, wallet, credit card, drivers license, etc. that you don’t want to leave in your jacket pockets.

The key to getting this right is remembering The Contaminated Hands Theory: After you wash your hands, the moment you touch anything, your hands are contaminated and everything they touch is contaminated. The only viable solution is to wash and/or sanitize your hands while you’re holding the item you’re sanitizing.

Before I proceed, I recommend you watch the following video, produced by a doctor. He gets most of it right, but while the doctor has had training in “sterile technique,” I’ve had CBRNE training which deals with much more severe environments. Thus, I observed several mistakes he made, about which I will comment, below. First, the video:

Immediate comments:

  • Don’t leave your groceries outside for three days. Animals, thieves… Instead, create DECON zones inside your house for decontaminating both yourself and your groceries.
  • There needs to be AIR DISTANCE between your contaminated zone, your decontamination zone and your clean zone. Not only does the line between two sides of a single table doesn’t cut it, but it fails to make use of the outstanding resource of running water. The counter to the left and right of your sink, however, are ideal, as explained in the checklist.
  • “Hasn’t been touched in a couple of days, so I can just dump them…” No. Treat everything that comes in from the outside, including yourself, as contaminated.
  • He repeatedly touches possibly contaminated items before touching clean items, like the bread bowl, thereby contaminating them. You MUST prep your areas, first, and if you fail, no biggy, but do start over!
  • Don’t put the bags on the table. Their exteriors are the most contaminated. Put them on the floor, then leave them there.
  • Let’s not talk about takeout. I feel bad for the owners of restaurants, but I’m not eating out until this is resolved. I’m stuck at home, so I’m saving money by cooking at home. While coronavirus is susceptible to heat, getting it warm in a microwave isn’t enough. Steaming hot, yes. Best to prepare things from scratch.

Aside from the above, very good video, which is why I included it.

SARS-CoV-2 ORIGIN

Genetic testing has already determined it came from natural sources:

“Last week, Nature Medicine published a Correspondence, “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2,” which Holmes co-authored, working with scientists from the department of immunology and microbiology at The Scripps Research Institute, the University of Edinburgh, Columbia University, and Tulane University.

“The research, using comparative analysis of genomic data, both proved that SARS-CoV-2 evolved naturally, and disproved the idea that it is a manufactured biological agent.

“There is simply no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 came out of a lab,” Holmes said.

Given the fact that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the most widely studied virus in the 21st Century, exhaustively researched and analyzed by scientists, virologists, and infectious disease specialists in every country on the entire planet, I think I’m going to shun the conspiracy theories and go with the science on this one.

BASIC NUTRITION AND EXERCISE

If China would do just one thing — read and follow the book of Leviticus in the Bible — they would in all likelihood cease being the primary origin of the World’s emerging infectious diseases.

There’s are a number of outstandingly good reasons civilized humans limit their meats to healthy animals from the following families:

  • Clupeidae – Fish that look like fish, with fins and silvery scales
  • Most birds that don’t eat carrion, but especially the Galliformes – heavy-bodied ground-feeding birds that includes turkey, grouse, chicken, New World quail and Old World quail, ptarmigan, partridge, pheasant, francolin, junglefowl and the Cracidae.
  • Bovidae – cloven-hoofed, ruminant mammals that includes bison, African buffalo, water buffalo, antelopes, sheep, goats, muskoxen, and domestic cattle.

The primary reason you should limit your meats to these groups is that most human diseases are not carried by these animals! They’re CLEAN, not only spiritually and religiously, but from a biological perspective, as well.

However, that holds true only if they’re roasted. Not burned. Roasted. The meat will turn brown via the Maillard effect, but properly roasted meat is never blackened or charred (carcinogenic). Thus, if you grill, grill SLOWLY, never on a searing hot grill.

As for the rest of a healthy diet, I recommend selecting from The World’s Healthiest Foods — 100 foods that can serve as the basis of your Healthiest Way of Eating. As they mentioned, ” Just because a food is not on our list doesn’t mean we don’t think it can be included in a diet geared towards the Healthiest Way of Eating as long as it is a whole, natural, nutrient-rich food.” Be sure to read the FAQs about the World’s Healthiest Foods below the actual list.

Naturally, you need healthy exercise, as well, both aerobics as well as weights.

For aerobics, you need to hit and hold 80% of 220 minus your age. For example, if you’re 50, that’s 220-50=170. 80% of 170 is 136. Thus, slowly (over weeks or even months) work your way up to 136 beats per minute (BPM) with a good 5-10 minute warm-up, hold it there for 20 minutes, then slowly ramp it back down during your 5-10 minute cool down.

For weights, go very slowly and plan on working your way up to moderate weight amounts by working out 3x a week for 10 weeks, starting with the very lightest weights and only bumping to the next level the next week. Your muscles can quickly ramp up to higher loads, but your joints can NOT. It takes a couple of months for them to come online! Give them time.

In fact… ” The effect of exercise on health is profound. It can protect you from a range of conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. But the type and amount of exercise you should do changes as you age. To ensure that you are doing the right type of exercise for your age, follow this simple guide.”

TRANSMISSION

The SARS-CoV-2 is spread via contact and droplets (larger than 5 microns in size) and aerosols (less than 5 microns in size). I won’t repeat the volumes of conflicting information with respect to how long it hangs around. Instead, I’ll give you four simple rules:

  • Isolate clean living areas from contaminated areas by treating where you live as “Spaceship Home!” Everyone entering your home must pass through an “airlock” decontamination area. Never wear clothes or shoes worn outside on the inside. You don’t have to wear a spacesuit, but do change your clothes, wash your hands, and if you’ve been in the presence of many others i.e. grocery shopping or at work, then take a shower.
  • Clean all commonly-used surfaces with a disinfectant (1 TBSP bleach per gallon and a 3-5 drops of Dawn) frequently.
  • Unless you’re in a known clean environment, always wash your hands before touching your face.
  • Wear a mask when in public. Yes, better masks will work better, but lesser masks still work to reduce exposure and are certainly better than nothing. Besides, as they say, they prevent hand to mouth/nose contact, which is the primary way people are infected.

MASKS

I was dumbfounded when supposed “medical experts” kept saying, “Don’t use a mask. They won’t help.”

Uh… Yes, yes they will.

There are two main types of masks generally used in healthcare. N95 respirators filter out 95% of airborne particles, including bacteria and viruses. The lighter surgical or medical face-masks are made to prevent spit and mucous from getting on patients or equipment.

Both types reduce rates of infection among healthcare workers, though comparisons (at least for influenza) have yet to show that one is superior to the other. One 2020 review by Chinese researchers, for example, analyzed six randomly controlled trials that included more than 9000 participants and found no added benefits of N95 masks over ordinary surgical masks for healthcare providers treating patients with the flu.

Source: Sohn, E. (March 20, 2020). DIY masks: Worth the risk? Researchers are conflicted. Medscape. Retrieved from: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/927259)

Here’s a short video of an individual wearing a P100 mask:

Basic 3M mask with P100 filters of HEPA / MERV 17 standard.
Removes 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 micrometers (?m) in diameter.
Eye wear reduces likelihood of ocular infiltration.

Several things work together to make this a “P100” mask, capable of blocking particles down to 0.3 micrometers (?m) in diameter 99.97% of the time:

FIT: The mask must be sized to your face. Generally, they either come in “one size fits all” or small, medium and large or short, medium and long. Proper fitting requires trial and error, along with a fit test, which is the only good way to determine if the mask is sealing properly. The documentation included in your mask describes how to conduct a fit test.

CONSTRUCTION: The mask should be made of flexible silicone rubber, with a sturdy outer shell and a flexible sealing flange. Inflow and outlet valves are quick-sealing, and usually thin discs of silicone against a smooth plastic surface.

FILTERS: Many different filters exist, and while viruses are very tiny, the size of a football compared to a football stadium, the drops of fluid containing them as expelled from a sneeze or a cough are the size of the football stadium.

We’re stopping football stadiums, not footballs. But since the football–sized SARS-CoV-2 virus is embedded in stadium-sized droplets of fluid, and cannot live in the air without those droplets, stopping the stadium-sized droplet of fluid is sufficient, which is why most hospitals treading COVID-19 patients are using N95 masks.

ULPA (Ultra Low Particulate Air): Removes 99.9995% of airborne particles 0.12 micrometers (?m) in diameter . MERV 20 equivalence. These are the highest quality filters available. ULPA filters provide better filtration for tobacco smoke, oil smoke, insecticide dust, carbon dust, and even capture some viruses. These are very expensive filters and reserved for extremely hazardous particles, fumes, and chemicals can pose a threat to the user and/or environment. Because of their density, they’re usually reserved for forced-air environmental suits powered by an electrical blower.

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air): Removes 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 micrometers (?m) in diameter. MERV 17 equivalence. Provides excellent filtration for bacteria, lung damaging dust, spores, pollen, pulverized coal, and metallurgical dust and fumes. N/R/P100 masks used in a variety of home and industrial applications meet this standard.

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers): Removes 95% of airborne particles 0.5 micrometers (?m) in diameter. MERV 15 equivalence. Captures bacteria, pollen, spores, and other harmful particulates. The N95 mask used by medical personnel in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients meets this standard.

NOTE (3/29/2020): This continues to be a work in progress. It contains enough information to be as is, but I will continue to update it frequently.

APPENDIX

Bleach Concentration Chart:

Pools use 1 ppm for sanitizing the water. 20 ppm is “shock” level and will eat algae. 50 ppm will lightly bleach colors out of clothes. 100 ppm is sufficient for wiping down otherwise clean food preparation areas. 800 ppm might be required for the final cleanup after vomiting and diarrhea.

3000 ppm will destroy most clothes, can cause breathing problems if you’re in the room, and aside from a few industrial applications, is both overkill and unnecessary.

Thus, 1/4 tsp per load of laundry using soap and warm water should be all you need to sanitize your clothes, and 1 TBSP per gallon is sufficient to sanitize most surfaces.

Sew Your Own Surgical Mask:

Yes, a kind lady has published a simple but effective pattern for anyone with a sewing machine (or patience and a needle and thread) to make their own surgical mask.

Additional recommendations:

  • Sew it so that it minimizes the free air space inside the mask. It will simply balloon and prevent proper air exchange. You want the inside layer to lay snugly (not tightly) against your nose, lips and chin.
  • Use two layers of a 100% cotton white t-shirt material or tightly woven pillow case material.
  • This pattern is for an around-the-ear loop design. I made one that tied behind my head and behind my neck like an actual surgical mask. But I didn’t have elastic material. If you do and you want to to make an around-the-ear design, go for it. I don’t think they’re as secure, though.
  • Mark the inside and never wear it inside out, particularly after having been in public. That’s as bad as touching your face.
  • Wash the mask along with your outdoor clothes in warm or hot water, normal amount of soap, and a 1/4 tsp of bleach. Dry normally. NEVER hand-wash it. It just won’t get it anywhere near as clean as using the machine.
  • Make two! That way, if you have to make two trips, you don’t have to wash and wait before going out again.
  • If you do go out to multiple stops, put the mask on before exiting the car at your first stop and leave it on until you re-enter the vehicle after your last stop, then toss it in the back and do not reuse until after you’ve washed it. Carry your spare mask in your purse.
  • Wear glasses at all times. They help guard your eyes from free-floating particles or spittle from others talking floating into your eyes.
  • Combine wear of the mask with social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and proper CCA procedures.

USEFUL LINKS

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Frequently Asked Questions

EPA’s List of Products Approved for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.

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