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Surviving COVID-19: What You Can Do

Surviving COVID-19: What You Can Do

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Surviving COVID-19: What You Can Do

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Sep 1, 2020


As of August 2020, COVID-19 has killed more than one hundred and seventy thousand people in the United States, approximately 30 thousand people per month. The deadly viral pandemic is poised to kill thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands more.

Are you frightened and confused? We were. Do you have a lot of questions? We did. Do you know how to protect yourself from becoming the next statistic? We didn't. Did you look to our national leaders for answers? We did. Did you find the answers you needed? We didn't.

We began social distancing in mid-February. We were and continue to be afraid of COVID-19. We didn't know how to stay at home and deal with COVID-19.

We started looking for scientifically well-founded information. We were pleasantly surprised by the number of scientists and healthcare providers worldwide who are studying this pandemic and who are publishing the results of their preliminary findings on the internet. Our understanding of the pandemic and its implications for our daily lives is growing as rapidly as the virus.

We were also pleased by the thoughtful responses of many business leaders who are thinking ahead toward the new world we're building. We'll focus on one of the major links in the chain of viral transmission, the airplane. Airplanes carried people who were infected with the virus throughout the world. Airlines around the globe are faced with economic devastation. They must change, and they know it. Their thinking about the future is reasoned. It provides a model for us as individuals. It shows us how we must change our thinking and how we interact with the world around us.

We were reassured by the information we gathered. We no longer felt like rudderless ships foundering in the sea. Knowing what to expect and what to do during a pandemic was reassuring. Somehow studying the parameters of COVID-19 reduced our anxiety.

We decided to write a pamphlet summarizing what we'd learned with a goal of getting the information out to other frightened citizens. The pamphlet quickly grew into a book. We hope reading the information we have gathered will help you survive COVID-19.

Sep 1, 2020

Sobre el autor

Dr. Gummow is a clinical neuropsychologist who currently lives in Florida with her husband, Robert, and two chihuahuas, Minnie and Max, who make sure that Linda writes each day. Linda is retired from clinical practice and enjoys writing both fiction and non-fiction books. 

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Surviving COVID-19 - Linda J. Gummow, Ph.D.

Surviving COVID-19

What You Can Do

Linda J. Gummow, Ph.D.

Robert E. Conger, Ph.D.


Surviving COVID-19: What You Can Do. Copyright © 2020 by Linda J. Gummow, Ph.D., and Robert E. Conger, Ph.D.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the authors. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

Cover designed by Linda J. Gummow, Ph.D.

This book is not a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The information herein is designed and intended to help you make informed decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Readers must consult a physician in matters related to his/her health, particularly regarding symptoms which may require medical attention.

Visit our website at www.carbohydrateconfessions.com

Printed in the United States of America


ISBN: 978-1-7320159-9-9




What You Will Learn

The Pandemic Is Evolving

The Book Is Interactive

Our Mission as Citizens

No One Can Know Everything

COVID-19 Defined

COVID-19 Represents a New Threat to Mankind

Modes of Transmission

Planet COVID-19

COVID-19 Characteristics

The Viral Life Cycle

Special Characteristics of Coronaviruses

Building Blocks of a Virus

Those Busy Little Imps: Our Hands

Busy Hands Meet Surfaces

Finding a Vulnerable Host Cell

Making Virus Babies

How to Stop Touching Your Face!

What Kind of Face Toucher Are You?

Behavioral Methods



Physical Limits

Make Face Touching Aversive

Substitute an Alternative Behavior

A Pain in the Wrist

Emphasize the Positive

Ask for Help


Why Make Such a Big Deal about Face Touching?

My Self-Assessment

What to Expect from COVID-19?

Incredible March of Scientific Discovery

Diabetes Has Been Overlooked

The Three Faces of COVID-19

COVID-19 Kills as a Cardiovascular Disease

Hurricane in the Immune System

Kids and COVID-19

Do Not Disrespect COVID-19

Mechanics and Importance of Viral Shedding

Did One Man Infect the World?

Hong Kong: The Second Phase

Next Steps in Hong Kong

Crowded Spaces Are High Risk Places

Fecal Transmission of COVID-19

Hand to Mouth Viral Shedding

Key Principles of Hand to Face Transmission

How Long COVID-19 Lives on Surfaces

A Word about Temperature and Humidity

Key Concept of Viral Load

The Science of Respiratory Spread

Respiratory Spread

Social Distancing Revisited

Why Breathing Is More Dangerous to Others than Coughing

How Speakers Share Air Space

Characteristics of Individual Speakers/Breathers

How Is Influenza Spread in the Home?

COVID-19: How Long Am I Contagious?

Sad Voyage of the Diamond Princess

About Your Eyes

Eye Protection in Industrial Settings

Can Coronaviruses Enter Your Eye and Make You Sick?

Does Eye Protection Decrease Spread of Viruses?

What Should Contact Lens Wearers Do?

Guidelines for Contact Wearers

Cleaning Eyeglasses

Acetate Frames

Metal Frames

By a Nose

How the Nose Protects Us

How Does COVID-19 Attack the Body?

How the Infection Moves from Nose to Lungs

Significance of the Research

Nasal Lavage

Nasal Lavage and Viruses

Recent Research on Nasal Lavage and Viruses

Saline Rinse Slows Viral Spread

Chloride the Friendly Ion

Applying Science to Nasal Health

Don’t Use Tap Water

Buying and Using the Right Equipment

Sinus Rinse Recipes

Isotonic Saline Formula

Hypertonic Saline Formula

Hydrogen Peroxide Formula

Baby Shampoo Formula

What About My Mouth?

Masks: To Wear or Not to Wear?

Evidence Is Confusing


Wearing Masks during a Flu Epidemic Is Not a New Idea

What Makes a Good Mask?

How Are Masks Rated?

Medical Masks

Purchasing Medical Masks

Cloth Masks

Buying a Cloth Mask

Make Your Own Face Mask

Do Medical Masks Protect Against COVID-19?

How Face Masks Are Tested

When Face Mask Wearing Becomes the Norm

Animal Simulation Study of Viral Spread

Disinfecting a Cloth Face Mask

Disinfecting a Surgical Grade Mask

Hot Off the Press

Pass the Good Health Habit to Your Kids

How to Kill a Virus


Say Goodbye to Forced Air Hand Dryers

What’s the Science?

Which Soap Works Best?

Alcohol and Other Disinfectants




Will UV Light Kill a Coronavirus?

What Is UV-Light?

How Does UV-Light Inactivate a Virus?

How Long Does It Take for UV Light to Inactivate a Pathogen?

Order a Kinsa Smart Thermometer

Risk Level in Your Community

Risk Level in Your Home

The Kinsa Smart Thermometer

How Does the Smart Thermometer Work?

What Kinsa Data Tells Us that the CDC Cannot

Scientific Support

Suggestions for Using a Kinsa Smart Thermometer

How Well Are the Policies in Your State Working?

Tracking Models

Too Many People, Too Little Air

COVID-19 and Inescapable Viral Load

Slammed by COVID-19

I Live in Wyoming. I Don’t Have to Worry!

The Three C’s

The Texas List

What Will Make Us Recognize the Dangers of COVID-19?

Ways to Change Group Behavior

Being Afraid and Behavior Change

Moving Forward

Fear of COVID-19 Scale

COVID-19 Maims, Hospitalizes, and Kills Young Adults

COVID-19 Hospitalization Rate by Age

How Sick Can You Get and Not Know It?

COVID-19 Causes Severe Lung Damage

COVID-19 Presents in Unusual Ways

Neurological Disorders

The Circulatory System

Secondary Damage to Kidney and Pancreas



The Why of It

Pretty Hefty Insurance Bill

Air Travel: A Dirty Business

Passenger Cabin Air, the Asbestos of the Airline Industry

Shouldn’t Someone Be Doing Something?

How Airplanes Clean the Air

Sharing Air with Sick People

Examples of Viral Transmission on an Airplane

Sanitation Standards on Airlines

The Grossest Places on an Airplane

Airlines Are in Trouble

What Are Airlines Planning?

CDC Regulations and Airplane Travel

Terminal Anxiety

Flying During COVID-19

Technology and the Future of Passenger Aviation

UV Radiation

UVC Light and Passenger Aircraft

Air Bleed

Monitoring Passenger Vital Signs

Optimizing Humidity of Passenger Cabin Air

Personal Humidifier

What Airlines Must Do

What Will Airlines Do?

Returning Home

Protecting Your Car

Grocery shopping

Behavior in the Store

Follow Store Social Distancing Guidelines


The Garage

Staging Area

Nasal Lavage

Disinfecting Garage Hotspots

Adjust Hot Water Heater Setting

Handling Infected Items

Store Excess Items in the Garage

Roaches, UGH!

Consider a UV Light for Your Furnace

Your Furnace Filter

Do Furnace Filters and UV Light Make Us Safe?

The Kitchen

Kitchens Must Be Sanitized



Sanitizing Other Things in the Kitchen?

COVID-19 Spreads in Bathrooms

Shedding Viruses Picked Up in Your Travels

Reducing Contaminants in the Bathroom

The Clorox Question

Cleaning and Sanitizing Bathroom Surfaces

The Shower

Should We Sweat the Small Stuff?

Cleaning the Throne

The Toilet Plume

Exhaust Fans May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Public Bathrooms

The Living Room, Dining Room, and Den

What About the Money?

A Word About ATMs

Your iPhone Is Contaminated!

The Bedroom

Bedroom Hotspots

Clothing and Stuff in Our Closets

Donating Clothing


Bedroom Stuff

Sleeping Alone Versus Sleeping Together

The Changed Bedroom

Don’t be a Covidiot

Passing a Respiratory Screening Test for COVID-19 Is Not a License to Party

The Question of Long-term Immunity

Whom to Trust?

Making Lemonade from Lemons

Lessons Learned in Hong Kong

COVID-19 Stresses Our Bodies and Our Minds

What to Expect?

Steps to Protect Against Psychiatric Distress

Restore Science


About the Authors

Recent Books

E-Mail Addresses



To all the non-covidiots who might be reading this book and to all the covidiots who are not.

After the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong, this memorial to the eight health care providers who gave their lives for their patients was erected in a park in central Hong Kong.

We thank our health care providers, emergency medical technicians, fire fighters, police officers, essential workers, and food handlers. They are risking life and limb to keep us safe and healthy. We owe these workers a debt we can never repay. Until we can erect monuments to them, let the Hong Kong memorial remind us of their sacrifices.


The photo used on the book cover was taken by Fernando Zhiminaicela. You can find this photo on Pixabay.


What You Will Learn

We are not epidemiologists. We are not physicians. We are not microbiologists. We are citizens facing the great shared challenges of a global pandemic. We are neuropsychologists with many years of clinical and research experience who have learned how to gather and synthesize scientific information.

We watch breaking news on the viral pandemic each day, but we are struggling to sort out the science and pseudoscience being thrown about willy-nilly. Pundit A says X and politician B says Y. We face the same choices you do. We ask ourselves practical questions such as, Does COVID-19 survive in the refrigerator?

Our questions sent us to journals, the internet, and newspapers to find answers. Since we are scientists by training and inclination, we wanted scientific explanations. We found that the information getting to us via the media is insufficient to the task. We are not getting clear and detailed guidance on how to protect ourselves and our families during a devastating viral pandemic.

We learned that our health practices were not up to par – we were not doing what we needed to do to protect ourselves against this deadly and highly contagious virus. We suspect that many of you are similarly unprepared and/or uninformed. Our lack of preparedness is not surprising. The last global pandemic of this magnitude faced in the U.S. was a century ago.

We discovered several useful sanitization practices, behavioral interventions, and instruments which can protect us against infection by viruses such as COVID-19. These are getting little media attention. We want to shout these out. We want to share these interventions with you.

We want to help you answer the daily questions we ask each day. For example, which safety measures should we practice when we leave our homes? Is it safer to go to a coffee shop, workout in a gym, or get a manicure? What is the science supporting wearing a face mask and social distancing?

We also discovered that understanding how COVID-19 attacks our bodies helped us grasp why these sanitization practices are important.

The Pandemic Is Evolving

New findings on COVID-19 make the news each day. For example, when we started writing in March 2020, parents were told that children did not contract the virus. In the second week of May 2020, we learned that children do contract the virus and a few children infected by the virus die. Children who are severely infected with COVID-19 are now diagnosed with a new syndrome, Pediatric Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19 (El-Atab, Qaiser, Badghaish, Shaikh, & Hussain, 2020; Schupper, Yaeger, & Morgenstern, 2020).

We cannot keep up with the evolving scientific understanding of COVID-19. We finished researching this book in August 2020. We will update topics relevant to COVID-19 on our website. Visit the Resources section of the website, www.carbohydrateconfessions.com.

The Book Is Interactive

This book is designed for digital readers. We have provided many links to source materials, guidelines/recommendations, and instructive video tutorials. These links are suggestions. If you read the book without using the links, you hopefully will learn something. You will learn more if you take advantage of the wisdom of those who taught us.

Our Mission as Citizens

COVID-19 is not going to disappear. Our lives may seem to have slipped out of control, but they have not. How long COVID-19 survives in the U.S. depends on the behavior of each and every one of us.

We have two jobs. They are huge, but they’re doable.

Keep the virus from entering us and our homes.

Keep the virus from leaving us and infecting others.

No One Can Know Everything

Please correct us when we are wrong and point us toward helpful information when we are ignorant. Send comments via our website.

Stay well and stay safe.

COVID-19 Defined

Are you confused by the names for the virus causing the pandemic? There are several names for the virus with which we are at war. Some call the virus a coronavirus. Others call it COVID-19. Still others call it SARS-CoV-2. Each of these terms is correct. COVID-19 is a coronavirus belonging to the order Nidovirales. The term corona is Latin for crown. A coronavirus has an oily coating studded with proteins giving it a crown-like appearance. COVID-19 simply stands for coronavirus disease of 2019. SARS-CoV-2 means that the virus is linked to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused by the genus Betacoronavirus. SARS-CoV-2 is the term scientists use.

COVID-19 is a member of the coronavirus family which includes SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV which produced severe human illnesses such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and meningitis in the 2003 and 2013 epidemics.

Below is a picture of another coronavirus, H1N1, a kissin’ cousin of COVID-19. H1N1 caused the Swine Flu epidemic.

President Trump underestimated the severity and reach of COVID-19 because it was a novel or new coronavirus. We knew, and the world knew, next to nothing about it. All we had to guide us was what had happened in past coronavirus outbreaks.

Remember the blissful days of the presidential briefing of January 22 when President Trump was asked whether he was worried about a pandemic. He said, No, we are not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China.


We all wanted to believe that the pandemic moving our way from China was just another flu. It would disappear with the blooming of the daffodils.

By February 7, 2020, President Trump was becoming a little uneasy. Nothing is easy, but President Xi Jinping will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm and the virus hopefully becomes weaker and then gone. We started worrying, too.

On February 28, President Trump remained hopeful. It’s going to disappear. One day like a miracle, it will disappear.

By March 15, 2020, President Trump cautioned, This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible.

COVID-19 Represents a New Threat to Mankind

New research from China and Europe explains why so many people are contracting and dying from COVID-19. According to reporting by Steven Chen in an article printed in The South China Morning Post on February 27, 2020, The new coronavirus [COVID-19] has an HIV-like mutation that means its ability to bind with human cells could be up to 1,000 times as strong as the SARS virus. https://www.scmp.com/print/news/china/society/article/3052495/coronavirus-far-more-likely-sars-bond-human-cells-scientists-say

The SARS coronavirus responsible for the epidemic of 2003 needed the enzyme angiotensin converting enzyme-2 or ACE2 to infect the respiratory system. COVID-19 can also target ACE2, but that doesn’t explain why COVID-19 is 1,000 times more powerful than SARS.

The HIV-like mutation of COVID-19 may also take advantage of a commonly available protein binding site, furin. For comparison, both the deadly Ebola and the HIV virus bind to furin. COVID-19 has a 2 to 3 percent fatality rate. This estimate of the fatality rate is subject to revision as we learn more about the infection. (Coutard et al., 2020). If you want to read Coutard’s research, here is the link to an article by the French research team.


This new scientific information on COVID-19 binding is important for five reasons. First, it explains why this virus is spreading around the globe with devastating efficiency and why COVID-19 is surprising physicians in emergency rooms around the world. The constellation of symptoms is broad and devastating. Something they’ve never seen before.

Second, the research suggests why COVID-19 causes severe respiratory disease in many, but not all, of its victims. Furin is highly expressed in the lungs. The terrible ability of COVID-19 to exploit the enzymatic processes in the lungs hadn’t been seen in the betacoronavirus lineage.

Third, the research gives us another take on how to treat the disease. We have drugs which target the furin enzyme and could slow or prevent replication. These drugs include Indinovir, Tenofovir Alafenamide, Teofovir Disoproxil, Dolutegravir, and Telaprevir.

Some Chinese doctors have self-administered HIV drugs after testing positive for COVID-19, but we have no clinical evidence to support the efficacy of any of these HIV drugs.

Fourth, the new information on the genetic structure of COVID-19 suggests that we should not hold our collective breaths and wait for a vaccine. We still don’t have a vaccine for HIV these many years later. It’s what we do now as individual humans that counts.

Finally and of greatest practical importance, these new results force us to widen our thinking on modes of transmission. Respiratory drops and contact transmission were initially considered to be the most important routes of transmission of the 2020 coronavirus; however, COVID-19’s rate of spread is vastly quicker than other coronaviruses. In an early study, Yong and colleagues suggested that we overestimated the role of respiratory transmission (Yong et al., 2020).

Modes of Transmission

Tune your memory back to the HIV epidemic of the 1990’s. We were adrift and confused then like we are now. Remember what you learned about HIV transmission? HIV could be transmitted through blood, semen, breast milk, vaginal sex, anal sex, etc.

We are now dealing with a virus which has a little in common with HIV. COVID-19 is not HIV. HIV cannot be spread through aerosolized droplets. COVID-19 is thought to be spread by aerosolized droplets, but there is no proof of this assumption. In fact, there is considerable controversy about how COVID-19 spreads. See the reporting by Achenbach and Johnson in the Washington Post 4/30/20. https://www.mtv.com.lb/en/News/International/1051177/Experts-Unable-to-Confirm-or-Deny-Coronavirus-Airborne-Transmission-After-Multiple-Studies

Currently, our main weapons are slowing the spread of COVID-19 through sanitation, face mask wearing, and social distancing. How COVID-19 is

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