Coronavirus pandemic

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Dan Knapp
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Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Dan Knapp » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:18 am

This is a bit off topic, but if it is possible that any good might come from the pandemic, a lot of people will be confined to stay home and need something to do. We might expect this to lead to people having time to get back to long neglected fusor projects, so we might see a flurry of new activity and progress.
More directly related to the pandemic, I’d like to throw out a tip to those unable to find hand sanitizer or the high strength isopropyl alcohol to make your own. My local liquor store still has 190 Proof (95%) grain (ethyl) alcohol, which mixed two parts alcohol to one part aloe skin softener gives essentially the same composition as Purell. Note that 150 proof or any vodka is too weak after mixing. The 190 proof costs $21 per liter here, which because of tax is more expensive than isopropyl alcohol. I used a fourth of the liter to make a bottle of limoncello, which normally costs $29; so I figure I’m still ahead cost wise, and happier after dinner. I have no suggestions on toilet paper.
On a more serious note, I think a large proportion of fusor forum people are in the older, more vulnerable group. The key to mitigating this pandemic will be the response of the younger people who are likely to suffer little or no symptoms upon infection but can still spread the infection. To the younger people here, it is critical that you follow and attempt to convince others in your age group to follow the recommendations to slow the spread of the virus.
Again apologies for being off topic, but we are facing an unprecedented crisis. Hopefully, we’ll be through this in the not too distant future, and this thread can be erased.
Last edited by Dan Knapp on Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

Andrew Seltzman
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Andrew Seltzman » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:25 am

1gallon 99.9% isopropanol ... /70125491/

benzalkonium chloride concentrate (same thing as lysol/clorox wipe liquid), makes 32 gallon ... on-p-51476

Both can be shipped
Andrew Seltzman

Dan Knapp
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Real name: Dan Knapp

Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Dan Knapp » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:41 am

Good price on the isopropyl alcohol, but hazmat shipping could be expensive. Note, however, that it is out of stock there; zero quantity available for shipping.

Andrew Seltzman
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Andrew Seltzman » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:46 am

Wow, it was in stock on sunday when I ordered some.

the spray bottles are in stock ... /70125490/ ... ock%20Only
Andrew Seltzman

John Futter
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by John Futter » Tue Mar 17, 2020 5:58 am

Alcohol concentration has to be greater than 60 % to be effective
do not scrimp on the alcohol pays to go a little greater in strength

now for some humour

Rex Allers
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Location: San Jose CA

Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Rex Allers » Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:54 am

Postcard from the Bay:

I am a member of the following: -- As of tonight, all the population of counties surrounding the SF Bay are required by law to "Shelter In Place" for three weeks. Approx 6.7 million people.

Monday morning:
Before the above decree, I needed to get my car smog checked to renew my registration. I went out this morning to get that done but at the smog place near me the guy told me that he couldn't do any smog checks because the Cal place that he needs to connect to was down because of some kind of virus testing or something on their end. Nothing can be done without that link. Should be back again Wednesday.

OK, back home. I know I need some food replentishment. My plan was to go to Trader Joes in the early afternoon so they have had a few hours to restock after weekend panic buying. Right around noon I saw on TV that something like the the shelter in place was about to be announced. Jumped in the car and went out to TJ's. They were metering letting people into the store. There was a line to get in. I followed it to find it wrap around the building. No way. I don't even know if they are going to have the stuff I want to buy if wait in that very long line to get in. I bailed.

I went to Whole Foods. Crowded but not too bad in the produce section. Got some nice looking fresh veggies which is part of what I needed and a few random things not cleaned out by shoppers yet. Then -- stood in line for about 30 min to get to checkout.

After I got home I realized I was stupid because I then read the shelter in place rules and realized food stores will remain open and I'm allowed while sheltering to go buy food and a few other reasonable things are ok. Of course, had to be true. Why didn't I figure that and not get caught in a small part of the frenzy. Oh well, done is done.

Here's me, now sheltering in place, but that's pretty close to my normal life.

Another California story.

A couple to three weeks ago the corona paranoia was starting. I thought why not make my own hand sanitizer. Looking at the label on an old small bottle of Purell, mostly alcohol and next ingredient glycerin. I have both. I can make my own.

Some years back I bought a gallon of denatured ethanol at the paint store for a fusor related project. Now I still had about 2/3 of that, but I thought why not get another gallon now. Went to the paint store. Hmm, not seeing any alcohol. Talked to the guy there. Seems last fall California banned alcohol because it is a VOC - volatile organic compound. Sheesh.

Looks like you can still buy a quart of propanol in the drugstore (before the panic cleaned the shelves) but that's about it.

Looked on ebay and bought 4 gals of denatured ethanol with free shipping for about $22/gal. (Wondering how much longer that can be done for Cal buyers.) Cheaper than the one Andrew linked.

Andrew also gave a chlorination chemical link. I went to Home Depot and bought a 5 lb package of chlorinating granules for swimming pool shock. Active compound is trichlor-s-triazinetrione which is new to me but should be more than good for disinfecting and I may use a bit for chorine-safe clothes washing.
Nasty chorine smell when I open the container.

Strange times we are entering. Hope all us nerds survive.

Hope we geezers still have enough money to survive too. (Market collapse reference.)
Rex Allers

Dan Knapp
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Dan Knapp » Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:50 am

Denatured alcohol is OK for disinfecting surfaces, but some of the denaturants could be toxic if you use it to make hand sanitizer. It is best not to use it in hand sanitizer.
Another hack that could be useful if things really get bad; I checked that my welding oxygen tank was full. I’m guessing my gas supplier is using the same oxygen to fill medical tanks. Anybody know for sure?

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Rich Feldman
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Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Rich Feldman » Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:28 pm

Apparently there's always a lot more oxygen used in healthcare than in welding.
So why bother stocking a lower grade product for welding, and how would you make it lower grade?

Heard that first factoid from George Goble at Purdue, in some e-correspondence or usenet group in dawn-of-the-internet days.
An online meme, before even hampsterdance [sic], was George's department picnics where they lit the charcoal fast using liquid oxygen.
All models are wrong; some models are useful. -- George Box

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Frank Sanns
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Wearing masks and using hand sanitizer: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Frank Sanns » Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:50 pm

I have worked with some fairly nasty materials in my career and I would like to pass some of that information so you can help make an informed decision of whether to wear masks when you are out in public or not. More importantly, I want to show that a mask does nothing to protect against one of the highest risks of contracting and passing on a virus like the COVID-19 Corona virus.
Air filter masks can remove some, many or most of a potentially hazardous material that is in the air. They never remove them all. In addition, some air leaks around the periphery of the mask and that air is not filtered at all. Masks will provide some protection to those wearing them especially those working in very close contact with the sick. Medical personal should and do wear them in these close contact and continuous exposure situations to protect themselves as well as their patients from their own potential to transmit illnesses of all sorts.

The biggest risk for contracting a virus such as the Corona virus is by direct contact with the virus. This does not mean just physically touching, kissing or being intimate with an ill person. This means that virus can live on surfaces for hours, days, weeks or even longer in some conditions. Some early reports suggest that the COVID-19 may remain virulent on surfaces for up to 9 days. If you handle an item contaminated a week earlier, then touch your eyes, mouth, nose directly or indirectly, you have a chance of contracting the virus.

To give an example of how this route of exposure is the high risk one in daily life, consider your daily routines. Consider just going to the grocery store to buy some items. Once you arrive home you leave your shoes at the door and scrub your hands thoroughly and vigorously and maybe even use hand sanitizer. Good job! Your hands are properly cleaned! You then go about your normal routine in your home.
Once you were all sterilized from being out and about, you unpacked your groceries and make dinner for your family. Your children and your partner arrive home and do the same routine of leaving shoes out of the living space and sterilize their hands. You all sit down and have a nice quiet dinner. All is good. Well, actually not.

The big risks come from contamination that you bring with you. Going back in the timeline, let’s look at what has happened.
There was a mildly sick individual that lives far across town. On this day, this individual stops at the same grocery store as you did. The person has some sniffles and properly uses a tissue. The tissue has only been used for a couple of sniffles but each time, virus laden secretions transfer to the tissue and onto the person’s hands. These hands then pick up the item in store along with a few others and go to the checkout line. The person checks out and the viruses on the individual’s items get transferred to the checkout person’s hands. You are next in line and your groceries are now touched by those contaminated hands.

At this point you might be saying that there cannot be much virus on an item but you would be wrong. A virus is incredibly small. So small that around 1,000 viruses can fit on the width of a human hair. A single finger print on an item can contain multiple millions of viruses. Multiply that by a bunch of different items and you can start to appreciate how much your groceries may have been contaminated. I am using groceries as an every day example but it applies to all excursions of everyday life.

When you returned home, you washed your hands very well and then went on to unpack your groceries. You now have recontaminated your hands by touching your groceries. Now when you set the table for dinner, you are serving your partner and children, the virus on all of the eating utensils, dishes, and glasses.
You have also touched the faucet on the sink as you turned on water to wash your hands and so did your family so they are contaminated from your initial turning on of that faucet with your contaminated hands. You have your car keys that you used to drive home before you washed your hands. You touched the door knobs on both sides. You have the buttons and zippers on your coat that now have virus on them so before you even leave your house again you have virus on you again, and again, and again.

Viruses are insidious. This note is not to try to alarm you. On the contrary, I hope it helps you to not have a false sense of security wearing a mask. Most importantly, I hope it helps you to develop better habits that prevent cross contamination from coming into your home and office. That is what stops diseases on a daily basis far more than a mask.

Cai Arcos
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Location: Barcelona, Spain.

Re: Coronavirus pandemic

Post by Cai Arcos » Tue Mar 17, 2020 8:57 pm


Here in Spain, we are becoming the "second Italy", mostly due to the ineffectiveness of the government to actually do something before the pandemic started growing, the secessionist leaders of various autonomies (specially Catalonia, where I live) not cooperating with the central goverment and the Army because politics I suppose and just most of the people being stupid and going vacation to other parts of Spain as if this was a holiday...
I'm part of that young population you mentioned, and I have to say that if you have to rely on us to not get the virus, then you have a big problem. Half my university class went in a party the day after quarantine was proclaimed, and even after the emergency state was declared, they still occasionally go out and then joke about it. I have seen some of them posting that this way they are gonna help their parties win the election (because older people in Spain tend to be conservatives or unionists).
Just stay safe and as confined as possible, and try to be as maniatically higienic as possible. As for me, Basic Processes of Gaseous Electronics by Loeb arrived three days before this whole thing started, so I'm devouring it. It is available in, and is a really complete and fascinating read.

My best wishes and stay safe:

PS: I found an interview to an Italian doctor that claims the lifespan of the virus outside the body to be nine hours to be false ( ... 14022.html). When asked about it, the spanish ministry of health stated that taking out your shoes was not a necessary containtment measure. And yet, a quick look at the scientific literature: ... 018-3150-5 ... 20033217v2
https://www.journalofhospitalinfection. ... 3/fulltext specially this one

All taken from: ... s-asfalto/ (In Spanish)

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