Sunlight and the coronavirus

Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

Louis Brandeis, Other People’s Money—and How Bankers Use It (1914)

One of the most entertaining things about media coverage during this pandemic is how much of it is aggressively and belligerently factually incorrect. Most of the “fact-checks” the media performs turn out to be totally bogus, but the media does not ever go back to correct them or attempt to spread new information that contradicts what they had originally posted.

They likewise run endless anecdotes about outliers and pretend it’s some new trend. (“Young people with no pre-existing conditions are dying from the coronavirus in much larger numbers than you think!” You are a 30-second Google search from the actual data that suggests quite the opposite. It doesn’t stop them from running with it. They know their audiences have never consulted a primary source on any topic in their lives.)

This means people who get most of their information from network news and newspapers (i.e. people who lean left politically, senior citizens, and Facebook Karens who want to believe the worst about everything because they love manufactured drama so much) passionately believe a lot of garbage stuff. They are pretty much living in a full-blown alternate reality now. And they’ll tell you that you are “anti-science” or intellectually inferior if you disagree with what their false authorities say. “Obviously you need to watch more of what I watch, and then you will believe the things I believe.” It’s the epistemology of the spectacle.

Many of these folks had a contempt for family life before the crisis, so the media is telling them everything they want to hear, especially when it comes to managing public spaces and schools. Many Boomers, for example, want to live in 55-and-older communities with not a kid in sight – something their parents, the Greatest Generation, would have considered unthinkable. Even before the war on playgrounds, public parks, hiking and biking trails, and beaches, they wanted local ordinances that would keep all playgrounds and play equipment hidden behind 12-foot hedges. They don’t care if kids’ educations are put on hold for years until a vaccine is developed and distributed to every American.

You should see the comments from elderly residents on local news stories in Florida, especially anything that relates to some facility being reopened. They are poisonous. Some of them want the local playgrounds disassembled and put into storage forever. I’m not kidding. They don’t want people who own beachfront property to be allowed to walk on the beach. Walking on the sidewalk along the beach is fine. But stay out of the surf or we’re all going to get the corona! If you wanted to know the kind of people who are going to vote for senile Joe Biden, here you go.

But it looks like parks, beaches, and playgrounds do not pose the greatest risks from the coronavirus, contrary to how they have been portrayed in the media, because lab results (“science,” if you will) shows sunlight quickly destroys the coronavirus:

Preliminary results from government lab experiments show that the coronavirus does not survive long in high temperatures and high humidity, and is quickly destroyed by sunlight, providing evidence from controlled tests of what scientists believed — but had not yet proved — to be true.

A briefing on the preliminary results, marked for official use only and obtained by Yahoo News, offers hope that summertime may offer conditions less hospitable for the virus, though experts caution it will by no means eliminate, or even necessarily decrease, new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The results, however, do add an important piece of knowledge that the White House’s science advisers have been seeking as they scramble to respond to the spreading pandemic. 

The study found that the risk of “transmission from surfaces outdoors is lower during daylight” and under higher temperature and humidity conditions. “Sunlight destroys the virus quickly,” reads the briefing.

While that may provide some good news about the outlook for outdoor activities, the Department of Homeland Security briefing on the results cautions that enclosed areas with low humidity, such as airplane cabins, “may require additional care to minimize risk of transmission.”

They can’t even help pointing out this hypothesis was the consensus in the medical community, even as the media ranted and raved about how false it was:

Simulated sunlight “rapidly killed the virus in aerosols,” the briefing says, while without that treatment, “no significant loss of virus was detected in 60 minutes.”

The tests were performed on viral particles suspended in saliva. They were done indoors in environments meant to mimic various weather conditions.

While the results of these tests have not been previously made public, Harvey Fineberg, head of the National Academies Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats, broadly described plans to conduct the experiments in an April 7 letter to the White House.

In that letter, addressed to President Trump’s top science adviser Kelvin Droegemeier, Fineberg wrote that the DHS lab “is well suited for the kinds of studies they have planned, and the scope and relevance are noteworthy. In particular, they plan to create simulated infected body fluids, including saliva and lower respiratory secretions.”

Droegemeier’s office did not respond to a request for comment on whether it has received the latest results from the DHS. The National Academies also did not respond to a request for comment.

While the lab results are new, scientists for many weeks have predicted, based on available data on the disease’s spread, that warmer, wetter climates would be less hospitable to the spread of the coronavirus. An early analysis by scientists observed that the virus was spreading more slowly in countries with warmer climates. 

But, hey, let’s not jump to any hasty conclusions about playgrounds here. Even though the overwhelming majority of the deaths are coming from indoor, temperature-controlled spaces where old people and people in poor health are concentrated. Don’t take a five-year-old to the park, but by all means go to Walmart every couple of days and push around a shopping cart that has more germs than a Miami prostitute while hoarding food for the next Great Depression. Attitudes toward public health right now in a nutshell.

The media has played up the coronavirus as some science-fiction-ish superbug that inexplicably will not have any of the qualities of other viruses from the same family. One of the media’s big lies has been that light and temperature have no effect on the virus. They would try to “fact-check” anyone who said that the outbreak would naturally decline in hotter months, like all of the seasonal illnesses derived from that family of viruses, even as they are perplexed that California and Florida have become nothing like New York, even with New York doing its level best to export its cases to them. (Though to be fair, even experiences in Nordic countries with no serious social distancing enforcement do not reflect the dire projections in models either. Sweden has done the world a favor in showing how bullshit all of this was from the beginning.)

Here’s a sample of the “fact-checks” the media published only weeks ago:

USA Today – Fact check: Sunlight does not kill the new coronavirus

Politifact – Sunlight can actually kill the novel coronavirus – False

NBC News – Debunking COVID-19 rumors: Does sunlight kill the coronavirus? UV radiation that is given off from the sun is not strong enough to kill COVID-19

This is a pattern with all of these news outlets, who insist on publishing narratives as “fact” when they personally have zero knowledge of the facts. Most of their “fact-checks” amount to “Trump said this and I hate Trump, so I am going to rate this as a lie without even minimal investigation.” Even though most of what Trump says is coming from other people who are actually researching the illness.

There were endless “fact-checks” regarding whether the coronavirus began in China, with the result that you are “racist” if you insist on such a version of events. It is now the nearly unanimous view of the US intelligence community that the virus was accidentally released from a government laboratory in Wuhan and that the Chinese government ended domestic travel from Wuhan while permitting international travel to continue in an attempt to conceal what they had done. This means both of the media’s pet narratives are untrue: It originated in Wuhan and it was probably in the US from the beginning, meaning populations with regular flights from China have been circulating the coronavirus undetected for several months now. Meaning there are probably millions more infections than currently tallied, meaning the virus is far from being as deadly as they’ve been hyping it up to be.

I have gotten to the point where I don’t even want to talk to people who are marinating in hype and panic and objectively false information from these news sources anymore. I don’t care if they are relatives, neighbors, whatever. They sound worse than the trolliest of 4Chan trolls now. They’d rather live in a Stone Age economy than acknowledge that the predictions they’ve been freaking the hell out about were way off.

But it’s a real problem that many of these wackos want to sabotage the country returning to functionality. When folks call the hyenas in the media “the Enemy of the People,” this is what they are talking about. Having a chattering class with an unrelenting impulse to self-sabotage, which for the most part does not exist in other countries. (The UK is probably the only other place with a media as irresponsible as ours.)

Right now, I’d say the biggest problem with Trump’s plan to reopen the economy is leaving schools and daycares closed, and it’s the media hyenas, Boomers, and Facebook Karens that are pushing for such polices. This policy means that any women with children who are unemployed get to stay unemployed and many women who managed to survive in the workforce probably won’t much longer. It’s also going to have a massive negative impact on minority communities, low-wage workers, and single mothers. They’re crazy for doing this to people. But you can’t reason with them. They love to watch it all burn.

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