American Adventures

OUR POSITION ON THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Today we’re being bombarded with reports from academia, mainstream and social media, and the government. This announcement is not intended to condense all those reports, politicize them, or provide our own set of recommendations, other than to reinforce one particularly important issue – to come together as Americans and stay home. Now is not the time to get out and travel.

Instead, spend some time with family. Work on other projects.

One principle we sincerely believe in is that American Adventurist is a vehicle which allows for the individual, who shares our passion for this pastime and community of interest, to be something greater than yourself through fellowship, stewardship, and leadership. Now is the time to do just that.

Lately, many social media organizations have been advocating for “social distancing” through self-quarantine by camping. On Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook we see people essentially bragging that they’re packing their gear and heading out to the most remote location imaginable, typically only a few hours away from their home. While romantic conceptually that’s not practical, nor is it contributing to the health of our community. Let’s take a closer look at why we’re convinced this isn’t a good strategy.

“Coronavirus is just like the flu – it’ll all be okay.”

COVID-19 is similar to the flu in how it’s transmitted – via respiratory droplets and contaminated surfaces. And that’s why many of the preventive measures we talk about are the same as the flu. But the two viruses are different in ways that are significant and dangerous, and current data supports the FACT that COVID-19 is on the rise in America.

Meanwhile, flu has a vaccine; COVID-19 does not. The flu vaccine protects all of us, including our vulnerable populations who are frail or who have medical conditions. People who get the flu when they’ve taken the vaccine tend to have milder, and shorter illnesses. A vaccine for COVID-19 won’t be available for at least 18 months, if even then. Everyone is vulnerable.

Flu has established treatments; COVID-19 does not. Our flu treatments make the illness milder and shorter. When someone does get hospitalized with the flu, the health care team have experience and material for treating the flu. With COVID-19 we don’t have a treatment, other than supportive care, which means they can keep you alive longer, whereupon you either survive or die.

“I don’t need to worry about getting sick. I’m healthy.”

Sixty percent of Americans have at least one medical condition whether it’s high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, or something else. Feeling healthy and being young isn’t a good reason either. The majority of hospitalizations in China were over age 30.

“Coronavirus is not in ‘the wilderness’, so I can go out.”

You don’t know it’s not in your area. There’s been a shortage of testing in the US, so we don’t have an accurate idea of how many people – or what areas – have truly been affected. The fact is, it is already here and has been for some time.

Did you know that individuals can shed the virus (infecting others) for up to 2 weeks before they get sick? That’s why the quarantine for COVID-19 is 14 days. You can be standing by someone who is infectious but not yet sick; in a queue at the grocery story; punching in your PIN at the ATM; pumping fuel into you adventure vehicle; and quietly pick up the virus. A virus which can survive on some surfaces from a minimum of 1 to 3 days. On every gas pump handle or debit card device you touch.

Alternatively, you could be the one who is positive and inadvertently spreading it to others. This is part of what explains the rapid spread of the disease. People don’t realize they are infectious. It could be anyone.

If you do decide to retreat to the “safety” of your remote camping site, what might happen if you have COVID-19 and you begin to exhibit symptoms? Even with the latest communication and locator gear, rescue could be hours away, while the respiratory effects of this infection rapidly progress and you slowly suffocate. Additionally, you have now initiated a cascade of human rescuers that you’ve exposed which ultimately consumes more scarce resources and threatens more lives. This is why social distancing is so important. By severely limiting our interactions with each other (even if we think we’re healthy), we have a chance of slowing the progress of the virus.

The Bottom Line in a Pandemic:

Naysayers may be acting out of a false sense of security. They may be downplaying the seriousness of the situation out of fear. But with lives at stake, we simply can’t afford to deny the danger. Stay at home. Take the opportunity to do that deferred maintenance on your vehicle, or perform that modification or installation you’ve really wanted to do. Take time now to do deliberate trip planning for later on. Study things and do things and be well. At home.

If you happen to already be out there on extended travel far from home, consider hunkering down someplace safe until the situation improves.

If we each do our part, we will make a difference and flatten the curve. Look at polio – with global collaborative efforts polio is now 99% eliminated in the world. Today with the COVID-19 crisis, social distancing buys us the critical time we need to save lives. Be part of something bigger than yourself, and don’t forget to support small businesses during this time of uncertainty.

Stay home, hang out in your garage, and be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

Poster images courtesly of Duke Cannon

Photos by Chad de Alva

Tim Bleau is a retired Naval Officer with 28 years of Service with multiple World-wide deployments. RN, Educator, and Ops. and Executive Leader.

Greg

Adventurist
Senior Staff
#9
Nice article as a small business owner we recommend supporting every small outfit you can as we have no idea how we will cover upcoming months of rent with income dropping to 0. Certainly uncertain times
Indeed! Can't find bread at the supermarket? Try you local bakery.
 
#10
Well written.

I follow a number of people that have a quasi nomadic lifestyle. Most, if not all have returned to their home base or are staying with family. Many small communities are closing their doors to travelers because of the limited resources they have.

We are doing our part by limiting our time in public. Our neighborhood is doing group delivery once a week to local restaurants, to help support the local economy. Not all families, but enough to make it worthwhile for the eatery. We did order some cleaning supplies at the outset and will be bringing the extra to the local food panty along with some non-perishable food, and TP.
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#14
A Medical Worker Describes Terrifying Lung Failure From COVID-19 — Even in His Young Patients

“It first struck me how different it was when I saw my first coronavirus patient go bad. I was like, Holy shit, this is not the flu. Watching this relatively young guy, gasping for air, pink frothy secretions coming out of his tube.”

As of Friday, Louisiana was reporting 479 confirmed cases of COVID-19, one of the highest numbers in the country. Ten people had died. The majority of cases are in New Orleans, which now has one confirmed case for every 1,000 residents. New Orleans had held Mardi Gras celebrations just two weeks before its first patient, with more than a million revelers on its streets.

I spoke to a respiratory therapist there, whose job is to ensure that patients are breathing well. He works in a medium-sized city hospital’s intensive care unit. (We are withholding his name and employer, as he fears retaliation.) Before the virus came to New Orleans, his days were pretty relaxed, nebulizing patients with asthma, adjusting oxygen tubes that run through the nose or, in the most severe cases, setting up and managing ventilators. His patients were usually older, with chronic health conditions and bad lungs.

Since last week, he’s been running ventilators for the sickest COVID-19 patients. Many are relatively young, in their 40s and 50s, and have minimal, if any, preexisting conditions in their charts. He is overwhelmed, stunned by the manifestation of the infection, both its speed and intensity. The ICU where he works has essentially become a coronavirus unit. He estimates that his hospital has admitted dozens of confirmed or presumptive coronavirus patients. About a third have ended up on ventilators.

As of Friday, Louisiana was reporting 479 confirmed cases of COVID-19, one of the highest numbers in the country. Ten people had died. The majority of cases are in New Orleans, which now has one confirmed case for every 1,000 residents. New Orleans had held Mardi Gras celebrations just two weeks before its first patient, with more than a million revelers on its streets.

I spoke to a respiratory therapist there, whose job is to ensure that patients are breathing well. He works in a medium-sized city hospital’s intensive care unit. (We are withholding his name and employer, as he fears retaliation.) Before the virus came to New Orleans, his days were pretty relaxed, nebulizing patients with asthma, adjusting oxygen tubes that run through the nose or, in the most severe cases, setting up and managing ventilators. His patients were usually older, with chronic health conditions and bad lungs.

Since last week, he’s been running ventilators for the sickest COVID-19 patients. Many are relatively young, in their 40s and 50s, and have minimal, if any, preexisting conditions in their charts. He is overwhelmed, stunned by the manifestation of the infection, both its speed and intensity. The ICU where he works has essentially become a coronavirus unit. He estimates that his hospital has admitted dozens of confirmed or presumptive coronavirus patients. About a third have ended up on ventilators.

"The lung is filled with so much fluid, displacing where the air would normally be."

“It’s called acute respiratory distress syndrome, ARDS. That means the lungs are filled with fluid. And it’s notable for the way the X-ray looks: The entire lung is basically whited out from fluid. Patients with ARDS are extremely difficult to oxygenate. It has a really high mortality rate, about 40%. The way to manage it is to put a patient on a ventilator. The additional pressure helps the oxygen go into the bloodstream.

“Normally, ARDS is something that happens over time as the lungs get more and more inflamed. But with this virus, it seems like it happens overnight. When you’re healthy, your lung is made up of little balloons. Like a tree is made out of a bunch of little leaves, the lung is made of little air sacs that are called the alveoli. When you breathe in, all of those little air sacs inflate, and they have capillaries in the walls, little blood vessels. The oxygen gets from the air in the lung into the blood so it can be carried around the body.

“Typically with ARDS, the lungs become inflamed. It’s like inflammation anywhere: If you have a burn on your arm, the skin around it turns red from additional blood flow. The body is sending it additional nutrients to heal. The problem is, when that happens in your lungs, fluid and extra blood starts going to the lungs. Viruses can injure cells in the walls of the alveoli, so the fluid leaks into the alveoli. A telltale sign of ARDS in an X-ray is what’s called ‘ground glass opacity,’ like an old-fashioned ground glass privacy window in a shower. And lungs look that way because fluid is white on an X-ray, so the lung looks like white ground glass, or sometimes pure white, because the lung is filled with so much fluid, displacing where the air would normally be.”

"This severity ... is usually more typical of someone who has a near drowning experience ... or people who inhale caustic gas."

“With our coronavirus patients, once they’re on ventilators, most need about the highest settings that we can do. About 90% oxygen, and 16 of PEEP, positive end-expiratory pressure, which keeps the lung inflated. This is nearly as high as I’ve ever seen. The level we’re at means we are running out of options.

“In my experience, this severity of ARDS is usually more typical of someone who has a near drowning experience — they have a bunch of dirty water in their lungs — or people who inhale caustic gas. Especially for it to have such an acute onset like that. I’ve never seen a microorganism or an infectious process cause such acute damage to the lungs so rapidly. That was what really shocked me.”

"You’ll try to rip the breathing tube out because you feel it is choking you ..."

“It first struck me how different it was when I saw my first coronavirus patient go bad. I was like, Holy shit, this is not the flu. Watching this relatively young guy, gasping for air, pink frothy secretions coming out of his tube and out of his mouth. The ventilator should have been doing the work of breathing but he was still gasping for air, moving his mouth, moving his body, struggling. We had to restrain him. With all the coronavirus patients, we’ve had to restrain them. They really hyperventilate, really struggle to breathe. When you’re in that mindstate of struggling to breathe and delirious with fever, you don’t know when someone is trying to help you, so you’ll try to rip the breathing tube out because you feel it is choking you, but you are drowning.

“When someone has an infection, I’m used to seeing the normal colors you’d associate with it: greens and yellows. The coronavirus patients with ARDS have been having a lot of secretions that are actually pink because they’re filled with blood cells that are leaking into their airways. They are essentially drowning in their own blood and fluids because their lungs are so full. So we’re constantly having to suction out the secretions every time we go into their rooms.”

"I do not want to catch this."

“Before this, we were all joking. It’s grim humor. If you are exposed to the virus and test positive and go on quarantine, you get paid. We were all joking: I want to get the coronavirus because then I get a paid vacation from work. And once I saw these patients with it, I was like, Holy shit, I do not want to catch this and I don’t want anyone I know to catch this.

FULL ARTICLE WITH PHOTOS
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#16
A GREAT EXPLANATION......

Here’s a good explanation about the COVID-19 virus that I copied.....From an immunologist at Johns Hopkins University...

Feeling confused as to why Coronavirus is a bigger deal than Seasonal flu? Here it is in a nutshell. I hope this helps. Feel free to share this to others who don’t understand...

It has to do with RNA sequencing.... I.e. genetics.

Seasonal flu is an “all human virus”. The DNA/RNA chains that make up the virus are recognized by the human immune system. This means that your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year... you get immunity two ways...through exposure to a virus, or by getting a flu shot.

Novel viruses, come from ANIMALS....the WHO (World Health Organization) tracks novel viruses in animals, (sometimes for years watching for mutations). Usually these viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1) (birds in the case of the Spanish flu). But once one of these animal viruses mutates, and starts to transfer from animals to humans... then it’s a problem. Why? Because we have no natural or acquired immunity. The RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn’t human, and the human immune system doesn’t recognize it so, we can’t fight it off.

Now sometimes, the mutation only allows transfer from animal to human. For years it’s only transmission is from an infected animal to a human, before it finally mutates so that it can now transfer human to human. Once that happens, we have a new contagion phase. And depending on the fashion of this new mutation, that’s what decides how contagious, or how deadly it’s gonna be.

H1N1 was deadly, but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly as the Spanish flu. It’s RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its host differently too.

Fast forward.

Now, here comes this Coronavirus... it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long...but one day, at an animal market, in Wuhan China in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from ANIMAL TO PEOPLE. At first, only animals could give it to a person... But here is the scary part.... in just TWO WEEKS it mutated AGAIN and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability, “slippery”

This Coronavirus, not being in any form a “human” virus (whereas we would all have some natural or acquired immunity), took off like a rocket!! And this was because humans have no known immunity...doctors have no known medicines for it.

And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus, changed itself in such a way that it causes great damage to human lungs.

That’s why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any other type of influenza.... this one is slippery AF. And it’s a lung eater...And, it’s already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with, strain s, and strain L....which makes it twice as hard to develop a vaccine.

We really have no tools in our shed, with this. History has shown that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in the past pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu.

Factoid: Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him, till the Black Plague passed...(honestly...I understand him so much better now). Just like us, he had no tools in his shed, except social isolation...

And let me end by saying....right now it’s hitting older folks harder... but this genome is so slippery...if it mutates again (and it will). Who is to say, what it will do next.

Be smart folks... acting like you’re unafraid is so not sexy right now, and frankly stupid and selfish.

#flattenthecurve. Stay home folks... and share this to those that just are not catching on.

FEEL FREE TO copy and paste