Idaho Dispatch

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Op-Ed: Science NOT Politics

By • December 4, 2020

Public health safety should not suffer from political ambitions.

Methods and procedures for dealing with COVID-19 have been evolving over the last 9 months. The primary method to reduce infection has been social distancing and the use of facial coverings. Despite this, COVID-19 infections continue. Many who have advocated and practiced vigorous use of face coverings have ultimately contracted the virus. Why?

Experts say that viral transmission occurs when a cough or sneeze from an infected person sprays tiny droplets of virus containing fluid into the air. Depending on size, these droplets persist in the air for seconds to minutes before falling onto a surface. The droplets can be inhaled from the air or transferred by touch once they land on a surface. Some face coverings can reduce the emission and inhalation of these droplets, but the use of face coverings necessitates that a person touch their face more frequently; to put on, adjust, scratch and remove the covering. This face covering promoted contact transmission may explain high infection rates of face covering users.

Contact transmission of the virus is the reason health officials universally recommend frequent hand washing and surface sanitization. Surfaces are everywhere and disinfectant wiping of table tops and door handles only address a tiny fraction of the problem. Anything you touch can become contaminated and items like skin and clothing are impossible to sanitize frequently by wiping. What is needed is a method of sanitization that is similar to the process of contamination. It makes sense that tiny aerosolized drops of disinfectant would follow the same paths as the virus to surfaces.

Last month, Lt. Governor McGeachin asked me to attend a technical presentation on some new technologies to address the COVID-19 pandemic. These included; a rapid deployment COVID-19 patient care facility, a Portable Commercial Ultra Violet HEPA Air Filtration unit, and a walk through Surface Decontamination System.

The walk through Surface Decontamination System uses an FDA approved water based Hypochlorous (HOCI) disinfectant. HOCI was discovered in 1834 by French chemist Antoine Jérôme Balard as the infection fighting compound found naturally in the white blood cells of the human body. HOCI is generated on site by electrolyzing a pure saline solution. HOCI does not have an ongoing antimicrobial effect. In other words, once it lands on a surface, it reacts with any germs or organic matter on that surface and then immediately deactivates. This allows for an efficient sanitation process with no hazards to the environment as it is completely biodegradable. HOCI is recognized by the FDA, EPA and OSHA as non-irritant to eyes, skin, and the respiratory tract. Walking through the Surface Decontamination System is like taking a 10 foot walk on the beach during a foggy day.

Upon hearing about these technologies, the Lt. Governor recognized that air and surface decontamination systems may have public safety application during the upcoming legislative session when legislators and visitors from all corners of Idaho converge on the Capitol building. Lt. Governor McGeachin drafted and submitted a proposal to the Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee for consideration.

Unfortunately, rather than evaluating the proposal on its public health merits and science, political opponents of the Lt. Governor and the media politicized the issue. Who cares about science and health when political points can be scored.

Idaho Press reporter Betsy Russel claimed that the technology was useless and potentially harmful citing a study of “sanitation tunnels” used in China. In less than a minute, one can discover that these Chinese “sanitation tunnels” were tents with shower heads spraying a bleach solution. No, Ms. Russel, the Lt Governor did NOT suggest people breathe bleach, and quoting studies saying breathing bleach is bad does not apply to the proposal at hand.

Lawyer and candidate, Luke Malek, piled on Twitter claiming “Does anyone want to tell McGeachin that COVID-19 isn’t transmitted through feet?”  When you take off your shoes, don’t you grab them by the heel? Do you then immediately wash your hands?  Does anyone want to tell Mr. Malek that floors are not intrinsically sterile and the “5 second rule” isn’t a thing?

The proposed system to combat COVID-19 has been DEMONSTRATED to kill the virus on surfaces, has been issued safety certificates by the EPA, FDA, OSHA and others.

According to the FDA (October 2002): “HOCI has been tested against bacteria, mycobacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores. Freshly generated HOCI is rapidly effective (<2 minutes) in achieving a 5-log10 reduction of pathogenic microorganisms.”

It is at best unfortunate and possibly professional malpractice to politicize, for personal gain, viable and affordable technology to improve the safety of the public.

Let’s put politics aside and stick to the science.

Brent Regan is an engineer with over 42 years of experience in the medical device field. He holds 13 patents for medical devices.

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Tags: Betsy Russel, Brent Regan, HOCI, Idaho Press, Janice McGeachin, Luke Malek

4 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Science NOT Politics

  1. I’m not necessarily a fan of our Lt. Governor, however she seems to be the only one offering up any real solutions during this state of the emergency in Idaho. Whether or not these proposed solutions are scientifically valid or proven is beside the point. Solutions to unique problems have to start somewhere. Try a plausible solution, measure the results, see if it works. Someone, or a group of people, needs to be willing to take the first step. While this pandemic and this virus isn’t necessarily unique from a historical perspective, the situation at this point in time (now) is unique to all of us. Hardly anyone living has ever experienced anything remotely like this. I at least appreciate the effort the Lt. Governor is making. One of those is the rapid deployment COVID-19 patient care facilities (field clinics and field hospitals). I thought our our entire healthcare system in Idaho is under threat of collapsing and over capacity. Well, there’s a solution: increase the capacity. That’s more than I can say for Gov. Brad Little, any of our health districts, and the cities and counties throughout most of Idaho. The only solutions they are offering are doubling down on mask mandates, canceling events, limiting gatherings, and threatening people with fines.

  2. Studies show, people who wipe everything down… are exponentially more likely of getting very sick. They are killing off the microbiome necessary for a healthy immune system.
    And I ain’t trusting anything any of these crazy “experts” have to say, when all their hysterical science denial has led to complete counter intuitive hokey pokey.
    99% survival rate, with mild or no symptoms…?
    More people are dying from suicide and heart attacks, and pay no mind to the horrendous experience our elderly are going thru, if they survive the neglect!
    I’ll be so happy when all these muzzled covidiots get vaccinated, so the rest of us don’t have to suffer them anymore.
    Good luck, you have a 60 to 70% chance of being sterilized and it will make you sick for days! But, when it hooks you up to the “internet of things,” we’ll be able to hack into your brain… lol
    Wake up, people!

  3. It is increasingly clear to me that this is not about the COVID. This is about the Reset. Just like the rules that the Nazis made, most of these mandates don’t make sense and go against common sense, logic, and true health science.

  4. I am a retired Critical Care RN. I spent the past 35 years caring for ventilated patients, often who had a variety of viruses or antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. The PPE provided by hospitals is often inadequate — and no one stops to “gown up” before stopping a patient from self extubating!. For 35 years, my first line of defense for keeping myself healthy, so I could care for my patients and my children, was keeping my own immune system healthy. Every flu season, I supplemented with extra vitamin C, D and Zinc — most nurses did. Any viral illness I experienced was usually extremely mild and over within 24 hours. Your goal is not to prevent infection, but to enable your body to successfully fight the infection, and help your immune system develop long lasting protection from that pathogen.

    I am very dismayed at the lack of advice coming from our public health “authorities” about promoting healthy immune systems during this time. Supplemental Vitamin D and zinc has long been established by peer reviewed, double blinded , controlled studies to enhance the immune system. Dr Marik has a protocol for treating severe sepsis using high doses of Vitamin C. It makes sense that supplementing with additional C, D and Zinc is a low cost, low risk means of enhancing health that is available OTC at any drug store.

    It is almost as if the pandemic is an elaborate, expensive marketing campaign for a new, annual mandatory vaccine!

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