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Thread: COVID-19: A thread to share some thoughts and events

  1. #1
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    COVID-19: A thread to share some thoughts and events

    Thanks to PJRC for supporting this thread. Neither I nor anyone knows where this may take us or when it will end. The first important consideration is to keep things positive and constructive wherever possible. If we can think up some good Teensy ideas at the same time, then that will be great. We might also gain some useful technical knowledge about the virus and epidemiology in general - who knows.

    I should stress to begin that we must avoid political dialogue. Our wish is that we improve mental health (and blood pressure )as a consequence of the thread, not the opposite. Think twice before you hit the SUBMIT button. Is your info factual?

    Our respective government leaders are taking different approaches. It will be interesting to know what these are in different locations. There is no universal answer because different situations will need different measures at different times. A lot depends on where your location is on the upward spread curve. No matter how you may not agree with measures, be careful to avoid the urge to rant. Pros and cons can be listed - but without emotional embroidery.

    The UK - as I write - is not yet in mandatory lockdown. Though there are hints that this may change quickly. Many of us like the open air and such pursuits and we will miss these if our freedom is legally curtailed. So some posts (or references) from drone users on the thread could be valuable. It will give us back a sense of the outside world. Teensy and GPS activity might develop new ideas here.

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a mantra stressing importance of testing for the virus. If this is to be widespread, it needs to be simple but accurate. I'm reminded of a thread a few months back where one of our forum members was describing "Fluorescence under a microscope" for certain lighting conditions. I then researched PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) to see how this was used in virus testing. I wondered if Teensy could assist some peripheral that we could engineer to make a test more simple. Yes, its a pipe dream at the moment. But important advances are often made by inspired guesses. Is there some characteristic of the virus that we could detect? What are its magnetic properties? Could we induce magnetic resonance in the virus, and witness this with a simple pickup coil?

    Thinking along these lines could identify some productive information from our shared ideas. We are in this together across "Starship Earth". We will emerge from it, but not all companies will survive. The economic impact will be indescribable. Lets see if we can help Teensy products survive the impact.
    Last edited by TelephoneBill; 03-18-2020 at 07:42 PM.

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    I should stress to begin that we must avoid political dialogue. Our wish is that we improve mental health (and blood pressure )as a consequence of the thread, not the opposite. Think twice before you hit the SUBMIT button. Is your info factual?
    Agree whole heartedly. 2 things I don't discuss - religion and politics - except on very rare occurrences.

    Starship Earth is a very apt name. Maybe the world needs to adopt the philosophy more often than not!

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    Senior Member+ Frank B's Avatar
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    Even at the risk of saying familiar things here:
    The figures show that the number of cases increases tenfold in ~8 days, and this will continue. Of course, this depends very much on how many tests are performed at all. In Germany a great many tests are carried out. (But there are still people who want to be tested but are unsuccessful). It is assumed that the number of unreported cases could be up to 10 times higher in this country as well.
    Here is an impressive graph showing the growth:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    ( Source )

    There is no reason to assume that the curve will be substantially different in other countries. We are just a few days ahead.

    Therefore, here is my appeal, which should be known by now, but cannot be repeated often enough:

    People, stay home. If possible, ask to be allowed to do home office.
    Go outside alone, not in groups. Keep a distance. Do not give the children to their grandparents.

    Thank those who still have to work in public - especially doctors, nurses, but also vendors, bus and taxi drivers, postmen, etc. etc. and give them a smile or a "thank you".

    Thank you.
    Stay healthy.
    Last edited by Frank B; 03-19-2020 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Updated data

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    Before the virus thing disrupted our lives I had got interested in cooking omelettes using the Japanese technique of rolling them in layers using a rectangular frying pan.

    Here's one after I've poured the third layer but before I added the cheese.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    And here's the finished product.
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    Yup, I like them rather well done. The one I make for my wife isn't as golden brown (or, what I call "raw").

    The relevance to our current situation, and this thread, is that, as it became obvious that the Covid-19 situation was not going away, my wife asked me what I thought we needed to do about food. I figured that if we were all restricted in our movement, one of the problems we might face is that we might not be able to get a constant supply of fresh, perishable foods, particularly "staple" foods like potatoes and eggs. So, I suggested that we buy some rice just in case potatoes disappeared for a while. And chick pea flour to replace eggs in the omelettes . My wife turned up her nose at the idea of chick pea "omelettes" but I bought some anyway and made her a chickpea omelette with the same filling (tomato, tuna and cheese) as I'd used in an egg omelette the previous week. To my surprise (and probably hers too) she actually liked it. Apart from serving as a stand-in for eggs, chickpea flour is also a good alternate source of protein.

    Food for thought

    Pete

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    Senior Member+ defragster's Avatar
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    Brilliant open @TelephoneBill.

    Here's a note on … how-does-a-breathalyzer-test-work
    Probably better ones but note: "The breathalyzer or intoxilyzer is a modified IR spectrometer"

    ... thinking of the fluid in a balloon demo I saw. Lung power to blow up a balloon and put it in liquid nitrogen and the gas becomes some teaspoon(s) of liquid. A non invasive way to get a sample to subject to testing? Rebreathed a time or two might concentrate byproducts of respiration. Maybe a box of dry ice would lead to the liquid as well, though with a bit less drama.

    This started here with a few posts. Paul's note there about Teensy availability:
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulStoffregen View Post


    PJRC currently has a pretty substantial amount of inventory, but as fully built by untested & not-yet-packaged boards. We had people out sick last week, so we're a little behind. Robin & I spent most of Sunday testing and packaging Teensy 3.2s (that's why I did not yet get to the RawHID issue) which will go on Monday to restock a couple distributors. Worst case, assuming the carriers continue to come pick up packages, we should be able to keep the supply of Teensy boards going. Whether we get much of anything else done will depend on whether the workers we have the test and package the boards are healthy and able to come in to work. Our employees have normal paid time off, and last week we added 40 extra hours of paid time off to their accounts and communicated that we believe taking time off when sick and staying healthy is more important that products. So we may be slow, but the good news is we saw this coming a couple months ago when it swept through China and we stocked up, in hopes of being able to keep Teensy continuously in stock.

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    MatrixRat deserves the credit for "Starship Earth". (I loved Melbourne, Victoria when I was working there in 1980 and 1981 MatrixRat). Good on yer mate. Another famous Aussie saying is "She'll be right" meaning things will turn out OK in the end. Let's put that thought centre for today.

    In regards to testing, there are two separate aspects to this. (1) Testing for the virus itself, and (2) Testing for the antibodies after infection when healing has occurred. The first is to know if someone has this problem and not some other flu. The second is to know if they had it previously and now unlikely to get it again. Any assistance we could suggest for either of these would be fantastic - and maybe get you a Nobel.

    @defragster, excellent link to learning about the breathalyzer. This set me thinking about mouthwash - would the vapours from Chlorhexidine Digluconate penetrate into the lungs and interfere constructively with a viral particle that you may have inhaled? Would mouthwash stop a viral in the mouth/nose before it had chance to enter the breathing pathways? Not easy to answer, but it gets thinking started. Our forum will have experts who know a lot more and can comment. By the way, COVID-19 is the disease, not the name of the virus.

    Serious experiments with dangerous biological pathogens need serious laboratory protocols and protection. Not something for a garage. But if we conduct Einstein like "thought experiments", there may be someone in the forum who does have a route to safely test.

    Rumour has it that 80% of us will be infected eventually, so the virus may come to you whether you like it or no. So there are self tests that can be done. Monitoring your body temperature is one aspect. Is there some uplift pattern of temperature that is specific in this case? What is the best resolution Teensy might offer? Another aspect is SpO2. I have purchased a simple oximeter. Is there some variance in blood oxygen shown in SpO2? Could Teensy identify some characteristic in readings?

    Here is a link to anyone who wants to know more about how current tests work. It has some politics, but the science is good... https://www.wired.com/story/everythi...virus-testing/

    For the other posts, keep em coming. I love omlettes too

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    On of the problems with charting the number of people getting COVID-19 I think is that testing at least in the US is just ramping up, we don't really know as a baseline how many people already had it and would have tested positive if we say were testing since the beginning of January, the ramp up may not have been that steep. The other problem is that the symptoms of COVID-19 mirror the flu from what i have been reading.

    From personnel experience about a month ago, i think, I had a dry cough, the chills/shakes for a night or two, runny nose then congestion, along with body aches. The whole thing lasted about 2-2.5 weeks. Yes I had shortness of breath when I exerted myself too much. So was this the Flu or COVID-19. PS it came on fast - I got it from my wife. What did I do, use lots of VICKS, take Theraflu gargle. A lot of the old fashion remedies. From what wife told me gargling my help with hot water and something else (i usually use Astring O'sol) should help.

    Why am I saying this is because how do you know if it was the flu or COVID-19. One thing we would need to determine is what is the onset symptoms running up to a full blown case.

    BTW the name of the virus is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

    Here are some things I found on the NCDHHS website:https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/pub...olina/exposure
    Self-monitoring is for those that may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19. They should monitor themselves for symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath). Self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If they develop symptoms during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek medical advice by telephone.
    Ok enough rambling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjs513 View Post
    On of the problems with charting the number of people getting COVID-19 I think is that testing at least in the US is just ramping up, we don't really know as a baseline how many people already had it and would have tested positive if we say were testing since the beginning of January, the ramp up may not have been that steep. The other problem is that the symptoms of COVID-19 mirror the flu from what i have been reading.

    From personnel experience about a month ago, i think, I had a dry cough, the chills/shakes for a night or two, runny nose then congestion, along with body aches. The whole thing lasted about 2-2.5 weeks. Yes I had shortness of breath when I exerted myself too much. So was this the Flu or COVID-19. PS it came on fast - I got it from my wife. What did I do, use lots of VICKS, take Theraflu gargle. A lot of the old fashion remedies. From what wife told me gargling my help with hot water and something else (i usually use Astring O'sol) should help.

    Why am I saying this is because how do you know if it was the flu or COVID-19. One thing we would need to determine is what is the onset symptoms running up to a full blown case.

    BTW the name of the virus is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

    Here are some things I found on the NCDHHS website:https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/pub...olina/exposure


    Ok enough rambling.
    @mjs513, and all - I to just got over what I thought was just a cold. And it was. I am OK now. I have had problems all my life with allergies, asthma and have had pneumonia twice at a young age. So this hits home. Knowing what the exact symptoms are and how to distinguish between the two is very important to not use up resources that are needed for those that may potentially have the COVID-19 virus. You and I appear to be the lucky ones. Preventative precautions still need to be adhered to. You never know when you may run into somebody that unknowingly has the virus. RANDOM SELECTION? (BY THE VIRUS). I am thinking that with all of the media information all over the world, minimizing exposure is the key. As hard as that is and how long this will take to eradicate the virus means nothing compared to number of lives that could be lost. It sounds like vaccines are currently in development. That's a start I just hope this does not take as long to control as some of the media has predicted. My supervisor at work has been quarantined now for two weeks because he had dinner with his father in law and his father in law was a suspect case of the virus. The father in law acuttuly had pneumonia . Just today they were both cleared of exposure to the virus. This event put our company into a lock down. All but the production staff and warehouse are working from home. And I suspect that it will stay that way for a while. I hope every body here stays safe and things get better soon for Starship Earth

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    I've seen a number of news reports that suggest that hospitals may soon need more ventilators than are available or can be rapidly manufactured. Perhaps it's time for a paradigm shift. Instead of one piece of equipment for one patient in a hospital room, could we we designed a ventilator system that could support four or more patients in a ward? A ventilator is really just a monitoring system that controls a mask that provides positive air pressure to a patient with a variable oxygen ratio in the supplied gas. It seems to me that a Teensy 4 could easily control four solenoid valves for oxygen and four valves or pumps for positive air pressure and sequence them to a breathing rhythm. In extremis, I don't think we should worry about separating COVID 19 patients from each other, but worry about supporting them as a group.

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    The impending ventilator shortage

    Another thought: What's the difference between a CPAP machine and a ventilator? If the difference is just sensors and the ability to supplement the oxygen ratio, perhaps the mechanics of a ventilator are already available in CPAP machines.

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by mborgerson View Post
    Another thought: What's the difference between a CPAP machine and a ventilator? If the difference is just sensors and the ability to supplement the oxygen ratio, perhaps the mechanics of a ventilator are already available in CPAP machines.
    My BiPAP machine has sensors in it for the airflow, and it has a display of how many apnea events occurred per hour. And the current machine also has a cell phone in it, so it sends the data to the company that provides the machine every night (and my sleep doctor gets a report from them). I could log onto the site, and see what the charts looked like over the history, but I've never set up the account information.

    Of course the insurance company hasn't quite figured this out, and every few months, I get a call asking how many hours a night I use the machine, and how many nights it has.

    My previous CPAP machine also did the measurement, but it didn't have a cell phone, so I had to send in the data card every few months.

    From a web site on BiPap vs. CPAP:
    The main difference between BiPAP and CPAP devices is that BiPAP machines have two pressure settings: one pressure for inhalation (IPAP), and a lower pressure for exhalation (EPAP). ... BiPAP may also be used for patients who require some breathing assistance.

    And comparing a CPAP machine to a ventilator:
    A machine pushes air and oxygen through the mask, and the pressure of the air helps you breathe. ... CPAP or BiPAP might be considered if you need help breathing. A ventilator might be considered if your breathing problems are more severe. A ventilator is used to breathe for you when you can't breathe on your own.

    A goggle search shows that a CPAP or BiPAP machine is typically in the $800-3,000 range, while the hospital ventilators seem to be on the order of $25,000-50,000.

    That being said, it is probably a long way away from the iron lungs used during the polio epidemics.

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    Interesting paper: An Effective Treatment for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    Summary

    Recent guidelines from South Korea and China report that chloroquine is an effective antiviral therapeutic treatment against Coronavirus Disease 2019. Use of chloroquine (tablets) is showing favorable outcomes in humans infected with Coronavirus including faster time to recovery and shorter hospital stay. US CDC research shows that chloroquine also has strong potential as a prophylactic (preventative) measure against coronavirus in the lab, while we wait for a vaccine to be developed. Chloroquine is an inexpensive, globally available drug that has been in widespread human use since 1945 against malaria, autoimmune and various other conditions.
    Conclusion

    Chloroquine can both prevent and treat malaria. Chloroquine can both prevent and treat coronavirus in primate cells (Figure 1 and Figure 2). According to South Korean and China human treatment guidelines, chloroquine is effective in treating COVID-19. Given chloroquine’s human safety profile and existence, it can be implemented today in the U.S., Europe and the rest of the world. Medical doctors may be reluctant to prescribe chloroquine to treat COVID-19 since it is not FDA approved for this use. The United States of America and other countries should immediately authorize and indemnify medical doctors for prescribing chloroquine to treat COVID-19. We must explore whether chloroquine can safely serve as a preventative measure prior to infection of COVID-19 to stop further spread of this highly contagious virus.
    FYI: that was linked from:
    REPORT: French Doctor Reports 100 % Cure Rate Using Malaria Drug to Treat Corona Virus March 18, 2020

    BREAKING NOW: Stanford University med school adviser Gregory Rigano just reported that a French doctor ran a clinical trial on 40 subjects; [using a old drug used to treat Malaria] on Corona Virus patients. His cure rate was 100 %.
    Last edited by defragster; 03-19-2020 at 04:55 AM.

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    Morning all
    Just finished reading the article poste by @defragster and followed a couple of the links. One of them is from the Virology Journal pusblished by Springer, Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread , it has some good info in it and provides a bunch of additional references.

    Here is another link from the article on the S.Korean treatment: Physicians work out treatment guidelines for coronavirus

    EDIT: there are actually some things out there, here is just a fun one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcB4Tia2YYU
    Last edited by mjs513; 03-19-2020 at 02:17 PM.

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    Hi all
    Just had a thought - yes I know its rare.

    While I am an audiophile but what about using a Teensy as an electronic stethoscope or something of that sort. Did a web search and there are a few out on the market but are expensive. With telemedicine becoming more prevalent might be of good use.

    Or here is another one for you all, something out of star trek for all us trekkies. A tricorder that could display or incorporate that electronic stethoscope. For temp could use a MLX90xx chip or something else. Some basic functions might be interesting. Hows this one Bill?

    EDIT: here is an idea: https://sites.google.com/site/ncadar...health-sensors
    https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...sors&FORM=IGRE

    EDIT2: https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub...and-ppg-06c229
    Last edited by mjs513; 03-19-2020 at 03:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by defragster View Post
    just listened to the excellent daily podcast with Christian Drosten, the boss of the Charité in Berlin, one of the leading virologists in Europe (https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/info/podcast4684.html):

    Chloroquine has been known to be effective against all sorts of Corona viruses for about 15 years now. Chloroquine studies on the new SARS2 have only been done on cell cultures and are thus not easily applicable to real life situation of the SARS-CoV2 virus inside a cell. Additionally, the concentration of chloroquine necessary to inhibit virus growth is enormous and not easy to achieve with oral intake of chloroquine, especially as the needed high concentration has to be achieved inside the infected cells in the lung . . .

    However, there is a novel study on SARS2-infected humans treated with chloroquine reporting positive effects, BUT: this study also has some major flaws:

    * it is not a randomized double-blind study
    * they compared two groups from two different hospitals with largely differing mean age (37 vs 51) and largely differing number of asymptotic cases (4 vs 2)
    * one of these groups was treated with a placebo, the other group with chloroquine

    The study reports a positive effect of chloroquine. However, this could be due to the largely differing mean ages, because it is possible, that the members of the group with older people was in a more advanced stage of infection, thus making the observed effect of chloroquine merely an effect of the advanced stage of virus infection.

    So, good news that research is being performed on chloroquine with its well known side effects, but we will see whether its really such a wonder weapon. Science needs time and a relaxed brain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DD4WH View Post
    Christian Drosten, the boss of the Charité in Berlin
    Christian Drosten is Head of Virology of the Charité (not overall boss) and mostly concerned with research
    Nevertheless, good Podcast (at least for German speaking audience)

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    I will keep my fingers crossed that some treatment such as this will turn out to be very effective to treat people with this, at least in the short term.
    Or better yet hopefully it will all burn itself out and die... But that is probably just wishful thinking!

    My Wife and I (especially my wife) saw the writing on the wall and began preparing for this back in January and February and tried to get enough of the essentials to get by for awhile without needing to go to the store... And on the few times we have actually left home, try to act like we are already sick and keep safe distances.

    But sometimes it difficult when there are others who either are uncaring or unthinking or ??? Example this morning we went into town to pick up a few packages that arrived at our Mailbox (PMB). We deliberately went out before they were open, used the key to get in, wearing gloves... Then I come back out and put the packages in the back of the car, which we will probably not open for a couple of days... And then try to get back into the car. But by then some two older ladies parked right next to us (they could have easily parked another spot over). The driver rolls down the window and blows cigarette smoke out the window just as I am trying to get into the car. And then asks aren't they open.... So much for social distance rules!

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    Senior Member+ KurtE's Avatar
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    Forgot to mention, that usually each day we watch a YouTube video by a Doctor Campbell (PHD), who I think is in England

    Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt2CBtukxtE

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    Here is something you can do with spare compute power to help with the folding of proteins to help unlock treatments for COVID-19. https://hackaday.com/2020/03/18/join...h-foldinghome/

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    Quote Originally Posted by WMXZ View Post
    Christian Drosten is Head of Virology of the Charité (not overall boss) and mostly concerned with research
    Nevertheless, good Podcast (at least for German speaking audience)
    Sorry, that was my fault, I thought he was overall head. Its good to be as accurate as possible, especially in these times.

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    Senior Member+ mjs513's Avatar
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    @defragster - you post was a bit prophetic, about 20 minutes ago Trump held a news conference and announced:
    Trump, speaking at a news conference, pointed to efforts on Gilead Sciences Inc's experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir and the generic antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, saying he had called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to streamline its regulatory approval process.

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    Hello,

    I'm actually living in Belgium and there the was a story about the fact that over here in Europe every country seems to do what they think best and that there is not any real consensus how to tackle this.

    Belgium is not in complete lockdown as ie Spain, but I'm a Service Engineer @Thermo scientific LCMS systems and we see ofcourse a big disruption in daily operations eventhough our company is on the list
    of vital companies to help/support finding a cure for this.

    Hoping to get this resolved soon, it is having a big impact for us all the coming time.

    Wish you all well, be safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjs513 View Post
    Or here is another one for you all, something out of star trek for all us trekkies. A tricorder that could display or incorporate that electronic stethoscope. For temp could use a MLX90xx chip or something else. Some basic functions might be interesting. Hows this one Bill?

    EDIT: here is an idea: https://sites.google.com/site/ncadar...health-sensors
    https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...sors&FORM=IGRE
    EDIT2: https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub...and-ppg-06c229
    Now you're talking my language with both these references.

    I specifically like the Pulse Transit Time idea. I have an unusual heart rhythm (premature atrial contraction) so have been learning about cardiac electrics and pulse propagation for some years. You can tell a great deal from analysis of the ECG profile. One Italian Professor on TV was highlighting that COVID-19 was not just a respiratory problem but a cardiac issue as well.

    The ideal would be to create a Teensy project specific for COVID-19, but even if this is improbable, then a flu "Symptom Detector" (tempted to call it a Simpson Detector) could be a very useful device. There is much to learn about the onset from first contact to first symptom and the earlier this can reliably be sensed then the better action plan can be initiated - and contacts retraced.

    Of all the parameters that could be investigated, any Teensy project would benefit from mass replication - this could be a good economic way to help Teensy survive. So thinking of the KISS principle, either a temperature monitor/predictor or hand/limb touch device might be optimal. In the early onset, the number of virions is going to be very small (hence the need for PCR amplification). Amplification outside a lab is dangerous, so the more sensitive the Teensy peripheral is, then the better chance it has of reliably working. In the future, there will be other pandemics arising, so even if this Teensy project was not COVID-19 specific, it could be valuable.

    Considering sensitivity, I'm always reminded that measuring "frequency/time" is one of the most highest parameters we can resolve. That nudges my thinking towards temperature measurement where a simple crystal can illustrate changes in parts per million easily, and parts per billion with not much more difficulty. The downside is that capacitive effects can mask the temperature effects.

    Some very interesting comment coming from this thread. keep it rolling.

    One last point. I had Shingles ten years back. I wanted to know about Acyclovir and how this anti-viral actually worked against the Zoster virus. I seemed to remember that when the virus was replicating, it needed phosphate elements with a spare electron to attach the next A,G,C,or T. Acyclovir somehow created phosphates which lacked this spare electron, and thus if the virus picked one of these up in the transcription process, then it was stopped dead in its tracks. I admired the simplicity of this fact. Some of the existing anti-virals may well prove to be the solution in a like manner. (Acyclovir most probably specific to Zoster but I don't know why).

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    Service canada claims if the canadians want support they have to quit their job or get fired, to support them staying at home during the crisis. So while my daughter is home my wife cant work, and she cant work till this thing is over, and she doesnt want to quit her job while they wait for her to come back. So basically service canada wont help at all. in the meantime, i have to work to support them.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    348
    Same issue in the UK. Our schools close tomorrow. Exams cancelled. Exam results will be "forecasted" for things like UNI entry. Grim times.

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