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ASPartOfMe
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01 Dec 2020, 5:27 pm

COVID-19 was silently infecting Americans before first cases emerged in Wuhan: CDC study

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Testing has found COVID-19 infections in the U.S. in December 2019, according to a study, providing further evidence indicating the coronavirus was spreading globally weeks before the first cases were reported in China.

The study published Monday identified 106 infections from 7,389 blood samples collected from donors in nine U.S. states between Dec. 13 and Jan. 17. The samples, collected by the American Red Cross, were sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing to detect if there were antibodies against the virus.

The CDC study found coronavirus antibodies in 39 samples from California, Oregon, and Washington as early as Dec. 13 to Dec. 16.

Antibodies were also found in early January in 67 samples from Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin — before the virus was known to have been introduced to those places.

The scientists indicated it’s unlikely that the antibodies developed to curb other coronaviruses, as 84 samples were found to have neutralizing activity specific to SARS-CoV-2.

They also noted it wasn’t possible to determine the magnitude of infections on a state or national level based on the samples, or whether the cases were locally transmitted or travel-related.


Trump Covid vaccine czar says side effects ‘significantly noticeable’ in 10% to 15% of recipients
Quote:
The side effects, which come from the vaccine shots, can last up to a day and a half, said Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is leading the Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccine program Operation Warp Speed. The people who’ve suffered from side effects have reported redness and pain at the injection site as well as fever, chills, muscle aches and headaches, he said, adding most people have no noticeable side effects.

“The longer, more important kind of adverse events such as some autoimmune disease or others have not been reported in a different way between the placebo group and the vaccine group in these two trials, which is very reassuring,” he told The Washington Post. “I always make sure we say that [while] we know the short term and I’m going to call it midterm effects of the vaccine is now well understood, the very long-term safety is not yet understood by definition.


Ambulance companies at 'a breaking point' after receiving little Covid aid
Quote:
Private EMS services, both in urban and rural centers across the country, collectively received $350 million in Covid-19 relief funds in April, but those companies said that money ran out within weeks. Months later, the need remains great as they face another coronavirus surge.
In a letter sent to the Department of Health and Human Services and exclusively obtained by NBC News, the American Ambulance Association said “the 911 emergency medical system throughout the United States is at a breaking point. Without additional relief, it seems likely to break, even as we enter the third surge of the virus in the Mid-West and the West.”

An HHS spokesperson said the agency has delivered nearly $107 billion to more than 550,000 providers across the country and opened a third round of funding of $20 billion last month, which they said is available to ambulance services.

That third phase of funding, however, comes with a limit. It’s available to every health care provider and supplier up to 2 percent of their 2019 revenue. EMS services said they’re thankful for the money, but it won’t keep them from potentially going under.

The issue for private ambulance companies like Hofer’s is that they no longer get the valuable 911 or hospital transfer calls they once received, as hospitals, nursing homes and people put off surgeries and other medical procedures because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, ambulance services have been forced to buy more personal protective equipment, which has gotten 20 to 25 percent costlier in recent months, to stay safe.

But revenue has collapsed even further because ambulance services are also now expected to treat people in place at the scene of an emergency.

A Republican staffer on Capitol Hill who is familiar with the current pandemic relief fund negotiations said it is doubtful that the ambulance companies will get the help they’ve requested in the aid package now being negotiated, though additional funding of $50 billion to $100 billion to health care providers is currently being considered as part of that bill.

That money won’t specifically go to groups like ambulance companies, however.

“If we start making designations, then all of a sudden we’re asking to be lobbied nonstop about how the pot is divided,” the staffer said, noting tentatively that negotiations appeared recently to be on the right track. “I just don’t think Congress is itching to put in any kind of language that would carve out anything specific to industries.”


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My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


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02 Dec 2020, 9:46 am

CDC to Shorten COVID-19 Quarantine to 10 Days, 7 With Test

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to shorten the recommended length of quarantine after exposure to someone who is positive for COVID-19, as the virus rages across the nation.

According to a senior administration official, the new guidelines, which are set to be released as soon as Tuesday evening, will allow people who have come in contact to someone infected with the virus to resume normal activity after 10 days, or 7 days if they receive a negative test result. That’s down from the 14-day period recommended since the onset of the pandemic.


New MIT COVID Model Shows How Long People May Really Be Safe Indoors
Quote:

An interactive model created by researchers at MIT aims to create a more complex understanding of how safe people are from coronavirus while indoors that takes into account factors beyond how far apart people are.

The researchers, Kasim Khan, John W. M. Bush and Martin Z. Bazant, say that evidence suggests staying at least six feet apart in social settings may not be completely effective in protecting against airborne transmission of coronavirus, especially as time goes by.

Their model calculates "safe exposure times and occupancy levels for indoor spaces" based on a series of other factors, like time, room size, humidity and the behavior of those inside it.

For example, in a restaurant, the model projects that 50 occupants would be safe for two hours, while 100 people would be safe for only 64 minutes. Current general social distancing guidelines suggest 138 people would be safe in the same size of space for an indefinite amount of time, the research notes.


The Wuhan files Leaked documents reveal China's mishandling of the early stages of Covid-19
Quote:
CNN's key findings
Chinese officials gave the world more optimistic data than they had access to internally

China's system took on average 23 days to diagnose confirmed patients, and testing failures meant most received negative results until January 10

A history of underfunding, understaffing, poor morale and bureaucratic models of governance hampered China's early warning system, internal audits found

A large and previously undisclosed outbreak of influenza happened in early December in Hubei province.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
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My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


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03 Dec 2020, 6:15 am

Multi-State Report Shows that Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disability (ID/A) Face Higher Risk of Dying from COVID-19 than General Public - Temple University

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Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources and Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR) has collected data from eight states, including Pennsylvania, which show that while people with Intellectual Disability or Autism (ID/A) are about as likely to contract COVID-19, these individuals are significantly more likely to die from a COVID-19 infection than are members of the general public. The Institute on Disabilities was instrumental in completing the study in Pennsylvania.

Some of the most important conclusions from the information gathered for the report is:
providers are doing well keeping people with ID/A safe from a higher contraction rate;

people with ID/A are at much higher risk of dying if they contract COVID-19;

providers need ongoing relief funding ($270M in PA) to keep people safe.

"Despite enormous challenges, providers are doing an effective job protecting individuals with ID/A from contracting COVID-19. These individuals require assistance with bathing, eating and other tasks that make social distancing impossible," said Davis. "The vast majority of these individuals also have underlying medical conditions, so they are extremely vulnerable once they contract COVID-19. The mortality data make it painfully clear that we have to continue funding these protective measures to save the lives of people with ID/A."

PAR joined with the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education and Human Development in completing the study in PA. Syracuse University, New York Alliance for Inclusion & Innovation and the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) assisted as well.


Full Report


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My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


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05 Dec 2020, 5:13 am

More than half of Americans say they know someone who has been hospitalized or died due to Covid-19, Pew survey finds

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Slightly more than half of US adults — 54% — now say that they know someone who has been hospitalized or died due to Covid-19, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

It’s a drastic uptick since late May, when a previous Pew survey found that just 20% of Americans knew someone who’d been hospitalized or died due to Covid-19. The results reflect how rapidly coronavirus cases continue to surge across the US, which has recorded over 14.2 million cases.

The newest survey was conducted between November 18 and 29 and included 12,648 respondents. As of the first day the survey was conducted, there were around 11.5 million cases of Covid-19 reported in the US. Nearly 3 million cases have been added since.

The survey results, released Thursday, also found some racial disparities in who Covid-19 is affecting: 71% of Black Americans are likely to say they know someone who has been hospitalized or died as a result of Covid-19, compared with 61% of Hispanic, 49% of White and 48% of Asian-American adults.

Pew also surveyed respondents about their mask-wearing habits. About 72% of US adults said it bothers them a lot or some when people in public don’t wear masks. Far fewer — about 28% — said it bothers them when a store requires them to wear a mask.

Most Americans — about 60% — said they’d get a Covid-19 vaccine if it were available today, according to Pew. That’s almost a 10-point increase from the September survey, when 51% of respondents said they’d be willing to get vaccinated. Still, about four in 10 people say they definitely or probably wouldn’t be willing to get a coronavirus vaccine.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


Andoras
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05 Dec 2020, 1:22 pm

I wonder if the plus covid deaths visually appear in the cemeteries/graveyards. I mean if it can see more graves appeared this year in the cemeteries/graveyards than in the earlier years. :roll:



jimmy m
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05 Dec 2020, 8:00 pm

One of the main reasons that the coronavirus pandemic is so difficult to stop is because of the high prevalence of asymptomatic carriers. These are people who are infected with the virus and show no symptoms, yet can spread the virus to others. "Typhoid Mary" was the most infamous asymptomatic carrier in history.

New data from the CDC suggests that more than 50% of COVID transmissions are from asymptomatic and presymptomatic people. (Presymptomatic people are those who are infected but not yet symptomatic. While asymptomatic people will never show symptoms, presymptomatic people eventually will.) The CDC also estimates that those with mild to moderate COVID are likely infectious for about 10 days, while those with severe COVID may be infectious for 20 days.

Source: Asymptomatic Cancer Patient Was A One-Woman Super-Spreader


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05 Dec 2020, 9:52 pm

COVID Infection-Fatality Rates by Sex and Age Group

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Source: COVID Infection Fatality Rates By Sex And Age


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jimmy m
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05 Dec 2020, 11:41 pm

Short Term Mortality Fluctuations - United States

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It compares this years mortality data with the average of prior years [2013-2019] by week. The area in red is an approximation for the excess deaths due to COVID. The last 1-3 available weeks may be incomplete.

This information is from the Human Mortality Database [as of 12/3/2020] which is a joint initiative of the Department of Demographics at the University of California, Berkeley in the United States and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.

Source: Short-term Mortality Fluctuations


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06 Dec 2020, 1:09 am

Most of California to enter sweeping new virus lockdown

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The vast region of Southern California, much of the San Francisco Bay area and a large swath of the Central Valley are about to be placed under a sweeping new lockdown in an urgent attempt to slow the rapid rise of coronavirus cases.

The California Department of Public Health said Saturday the intensive care unit capacity in Southern California and Central Valley hospitals had fallen below a 15% threshold that triggers the new measures, which include strict closures for businesses and a ban on gathering with anyone outside of your own household. The new measures will take effect Sunday evening and remain in place for at least three weeks, meaning the lockdown will cover the Christmas holiday.

Much of the state is on the brink of the same restrictions. Some counties have opted to impose them even before the mandate kicks in, including five San Francisco Bay Area counties where the measures also take effect starting Sunday.

California has tallied a staggering total of 1.3 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started, setting a new daily record on Friday when 25,068 confirmed cases were recorded.

The new order divides the state into five regions and uses ICU capacity as the trigger for closures.

The measures bar all on-site restaurant dining and close hair and nail salons, movie theaters and many other businesses, as well as museums and playgrounds. It says people may not congregate with anyone outside their household and must always wear masks when they go outside.

Under the new order, schools that are currently open can continue to provide in-person instruction; retailers including supermarkets and shopping centers can operate with just 20% customer capacity.

The 11-county Southern California region, which includes the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, had only 12.5% of its ICU beds available, the California Department of Public Health reported Saturday. The figure was 8.6% for the San Joaquin Valley region, composed of a dozen counties in the agricultural Central Valley and rural areas of the Sierra Nevada.

Together the two regions are home to more than half of California’s population of 40 million.

The Bay Area order will last at least through Jan. 4, a week longer than the state’s timeline, and came as the state recorded another daily record number of new cases with 22,018. Hospitalizations topped 9,000 for first time, and ICU patients were at a record 2,152.

Critics say the broad statewide order unfairly lumps too many disparate counties together into regions.

“I feel like it’s absurd. That’s how I feel. It’s a joke. I mean, first of all we are 220 miles away from Los Angeles. And we are geographically isolated and we have no problem ... with overfilled ICU beds,” said Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, a Republican who represents San Luis Obispo.

He asked why his county should be lumped in with Southern California counties like Los Angeles and Riverside when the San Luis Obispo hospital has just one COVID patient in the ICU. The effect on business has already been devastating, he said. “We’ve got small businesses that are losing everything, everything they have.”

The explosive rise in COVID-19 infections that began in October is being blamed largely on people ignoring safety measures and socializing with others.

Berkeley Health Officer Lisa Hernandez said people should not meet in person with anyone they don’t live with, “even in a small group, and even outdoors with precautions.


More than half of FDNY say they’ll refuse COVID-19 vaccine
Quote:
The stunning anti-vax response follows an August survey of MTA workers that showed only 30 percent of 645 respondents were definitely willing to be vaccinated. Thirty-eight percent were unsure and 32 percent said they would not take the vaccine, according to the poll of Transport Workers Union members conducted by the NYU School of Global Public Health.

NYU researchers said of the reluctant transit workers, “The main reason for not taking it or being unsure was the lack of trust in its safety.” Respondents said “the main sources of trusted, reliable information included: personal healthcare provider, CDC, Governor Cuomo and the TWU leadership.

“A sizeable portion said they no longer trust anyone,” researchers wrote.

Many healthy firefighters in their 30s and 40s have become less fearful of the virus as they’ve overcome it themselves or know of colleagues who bounced back after a diagnosis, Ansbro said.


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My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


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06 Dec 2020, 9:14 am

Discussion on Aerosol Transmission

I read an excellent article on aerosol transmission today. COVID-19 is spread by aerosols: an evidence review Here is a short bottom line:

We can no longer keep our heads in the sand. The evidence is clear. Aerosols play a significant role in the transmission of COVID-19.

I think this is a good development. Currently, we are losing the battle. However, the fact that we have been ignoring the science around aerosols means that we have a path forward. If we start to manage aerosol transmission appropriately, there is a chance we can get this pandemic under control.

The basic steps forward are simple. We need to continue following the current recommendations about physical distancing, hand washing, and masks. In addition, we need to be cognizant of the factors that drive aerosol spread: crowds and long times spent in poorly ventilated environments. We need to acknowledge the limitations of the current approach. There is no such thing as a ‘2 meter rule’ – the farther apart the better. We will need to improve our indoor spaces, with a focus on ventilation, filtration, and potentially ultraviolet light decontamination systems.


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jimmy m
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06 Dec 2020, 10:46 am

Well, it is that time of year. The time to buy Christmas presents. So what to get the children. They love puzzles. Hummm. Perhaps a coronavirus puzzle is in order. Do they make such a thing? Well I guess so. A quick search on Amazon produced the following.

Image

It is bound to appreciate in value rather quickly and will become a collector's item.

Or maybe I should get this one.

Image


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06 Dec 2020, 11:14 am

This is hilarious. I want both. :lol:



jimmy m
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06 Dec 2020, 12:49 pm

Face Mask Construction

The best face mask for inhibiting COVID-19 transmission is N95s. N95 respirators are designed to create a tight seal around the nose and mouth. When worn correctly, they can block at least 95% of small airborne particles. The heart of the N95s is the material used in its construction and the design that produces a tight facial fit. The N95s use spunbond non-woven polypropelene.

May Chu, an epidemiologist at the Colorado School of Public Health, says polypropylene is great as a physical filter but has another benefit: It holds an electrostatic charge. In other words, it uses the power of static electricity. Think of the static cling that can happen when you rub two pieces of fabric together, says Chu. That's basically what's happening with this fabric: That "cling" effect traps incoming — and outgoing — droplets. "That's what you want — the cling is what's important," Chu says.

And unlike other materials, polypropylene keeps its electrostatic charge in the humidity created when you breathe out, says Yi Cui, a professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University who co-authored the Nano Letters study with Chu.

Cui and Chu note that polypropylene will lose its electrostatic charge when you wash it, but you can recharge it by ironing it or by rubbing it with a plastic glove for around 20 seconds. Once you've got static cling, ka-ching — you're back in business. Cui says a two-layer tight-weave cotton mask alone can filter out about 35% of small particles. But adding a filter made out of two layers of charged polypropylene could boost that filtration efficiency by as much as another 35%, Cui says. You still want a cotton layer closest to your face, he says, because it's a more comfortable material.

Source: A User's Guide To Masks: What's Best At Protecting Others (And Yourself)

I noticed some individuals were constructing face mask from Halyard Health Sequential Sterilization Wraps. These wraps come in various thicknesses from H100 to H600 and come in different sizes. The wraps are like a large bag. They are constructed from two layers of spunbond non-woven polypropelene [one blue, one white]. They are thermally sealed along the two sides. In a hospital setting a metal tray loaded with used surgical instruments is placed inside the bag [wrap] and taped shut and then placed in a sterilization unit. After the instruments have been sterilized they are returned to the operating room. The wrap keeps the instruments in a sterile environment until use. When the surgical instruments are needed they are removed from the wrap and the wrap is discarded.

Image

So using this material to construct a high quality face mask is a very novel idea. This week I was able to get my hands on a couple sample of an H500 wrap [30" x 30"]. They appear to be about the right thickness for a mask. So I think I will try and talk my wife into fabricating a few of these unique face mask.

There is also some good news. One of the features of a high quality mask is the aluminum strip nose clips. They help the mask to conform to the nose to prevent leakage. Well they are back in stock at Amazon.

Image


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jimmy m
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06 Dec 2020, 7:35 pm

Vaccine Approval Decision

James Hildreth, a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, said that the agency will vote Thursday [10 Dec.] on whether to provide emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer vaccine and that distribution of the shot could begin the next day. “We'll spend the day on Thursday reviewing the data from Pfizer, and at the end of the day, a vote will be taken. So, by the end of the day next Thursday, there could be a decision made about the vaccine,” he said Saturday on NBC News.

The approval could begin the process of providing much-needed vaccinations across the country as the nation sees an alarming spike in cases. More than 210,000 new coronavirus cases were tallied Friday alone, and the total number of hospitalizations reached a new high of more than 100,000.

Early data shows Pfizer’s vaccine to be 95 percent effective, and the U.K. and Bahrain have already approved it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this week that health workers and residents of long-term care facilities should be the first to receive a vaccine. People older than 65, essential workers and those with underlying medical conditions will be immunized in a second phase.

Source: FDA vaccine adviser says approval decision could come within the week


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Author of Practical Preparations for a Coronavirus Pandemic.
A very unique plan. As Dr. Paul Thompson wrote, "This is the very best paper on the virus I have ever seen."


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08 Dec 2020, 8:32 am

First Person to Get Officially Vaccinated

Margaret Keenan, 90, reportedly said she felt “privileged” when she became the first person in the United Kingdom to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine early Tuesday in Coventry, England.

Around 800,000 doses of the vaccine were expected to be in place for the start of the immunization program on Tuesday, a day that Health Secretary Matt Hancock has reportedly dubbed as “V-Day,” a nod to triumphs in World War II.

The U.K. was the first country to authorize the vaccine for emergency use. In trials, the vaccine was shown to have around 95% efficacy. Vaccinations will be administered starting Tuesday at around 50 hospital hubs in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also begin their vaccination rollouts the same day.

"I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19, it's the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year," Keenan said, according to the report.

Source: 90-year-old woman is first to receive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in UK


_________________
Author of Practical Preparations for a Coronavirus Pandemic.
A very unique plan. As Dr. Paul Thompson wrote, "This is the very best paper on the virus I have ever seen."


jimmy m
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08 Dec 2020, 6:56 pm

Things are Looking Up!

I was in Lowes Home Improvement Store today and I stumbled upon a box of actual N95 mask. These were not KN95s or masks that were waivered as N95 by the Europeans and then later tested and rejected. This was a box of actual N95s. One of the first things that tripped me off was their description. True N95s are called Particulate Respirators rather than face mask. And the box said "N95 Particulate Respirators".

When I arrived home, I looked up the mask on the CDC website.
NIOSH-Approved N95 Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators
It was on the approved list of NIOSH-approved and FDA-cleared masks.

So after almost a year into this pandemic, N95s are becoming available to the common man.


_________________
Author of Practical Preparations for a Coronavirus Pandemic.
A very unique plan. As Dr. Paul Thompson wrote, "This is the very best paper on the virus I have ever seen."