Simple Viral Infection Physics

After writing yesterday that I had two out of the three symptoms of Covid-19, I’d be interested to be tested:

Millions of 15-minute home coronavirus tests are set to be available on the high street or for Amazon delivery to people self-isolating,

One symptom I’ve got is shortness of breath. I’m not short of breath all the time. I just get short of breath after doing something physical, performing physical work, like standing up or walking around. When I perform physical work, I have to burn glucose from my bloodstream with haemoglobin-packaged oxygen from my bloodstream, to generate some amount of energy to power muscles. This will create a deficit of oxygen in my bloodstream, and if this falls too low I’ll start panting for breath (which is also physical work, and may explain why I sometimes pant for a long time).

And this is what happens. It looks like I have oxygen-deficient blood. Why? Probably because I’ve got some viral infection, and cells in my body are performing physical work making viruses (that’s how viruses reproduce). And that’s why I start panting when I do something like stand up or walk around.

And I almost certainly have at least one viral infection: the one that is giving me a runny nose every single day. It started out as a stream, but now it’s a slight trickle, which suggests that my immune system is slowly getting the better of it. It seems to be restricted to my nose. If it had spread elsewhere, and lots of my cells were busy making virus, and converting energy into heat, I’d probably be running a temperature. But I have no fever.

The other possibility is that, after 50 years of smoking, my lungs are shot, and do a bad job of putting oxygen in my bloodstream. But this seems unlikely, because all this started on one single day – 17 January -, and I was perfectly OK the day before.

So I think I’ve got a mild viral infection which is keeping cells of mine working, and drawing down my blood oxygen levels, causing me to pant for breath whenever I perform any muscular physical work. It’s also why I’m lethargic, and sleep a lot.

I think any viral or bacterial infection probably has the same effects.

It doesn’t prevent me from writing my blog, because there isn’t much physical work entailed by tapping keys on a keyboard. But it is preventing me from working on my Glaciation model, because I need good concentration to write computer code, and that concentration will entail physical work by my brain. Thinking entails physical work, and thinking hard entails hard physical work (although not as hard as any sort of manual labour).

I can also use my current delicate state to get a measure of how much physical work I’m doing, simply by seeing how much I puff and blow after doing something. And I can devise new ways of doing things that entail performing less physical work.

If the above analysis is right, I contracted some bug on 17 January 2020, and have yet to throw it off, although I seem to be gradually doing so. But apparently immune systems work better in higher ambient temperatures, which is why most viral infections occur in winter. So if the UK warms up a bit now that it’s springtime, I might expect to see myself recovering, and stop getting short of breath, and feeling tired all the time.

And it’s a nice sunny day today. And it’s very quiet. There’s hardly any traffic. It looks like the lockdown is happening, at least in this particular neck of the woods.

About Frank Davis

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22 Responses to Simple Viral Infection Physics

  1. John Smith says:

    good luck!

  2. Dirk says:

    Over here in Indonesia the Corona virus is killing more and more people everyday and this is the tropics. We call it a cold day if the temperature drops to 27 degrees. Usually 31 degrees celsius over here.
    Indonesia will be a second Italy.
    Wishing you speedy recovery.

  3. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    I hope you are fully recovered very soon.

    A finger pulse oximeter might be of interest.

    In other news the anti-smoker mob are ramping up their hatefest against tobacco users.

    Never let a good crisis go to waste. The original report reckoned smoking downregulated the ACE2 receptor, while the anti-smokers reckon it upregulates the receptor. Can’t both be right.

    Best wishes


    • Rose says:

      The supermarkets will be even emptier if the anti-smokers insist on clearing all the nicotine containing nightshade vegetables of the shelves to protect non-smokers from themselves.

      It’s not like the public still don’t know about the small amounts of nicotine in everyday vegetables, it’s been in the papers for years.

  4. Dmitry says:

    Dear Frank, what you are describing is yet another virus. I had – and still have – the same symphtoms when I got back (safely) from Asia, ran happily around Moscow for 3 days, feeling wonderful, and then met my friend with a super-Russian name Ivanov. He was sneesing. So I got that thing too. It goes away very slowly. I still sleep when I can, and only a good sauna takes me back to life, every weekend, making me feel better and better.
    Speaking about lies etc., as above, have a look at what Farsalinos is writing about that thing that you mentioned – low numbers of smokers among the patients in China. Farsalinos may be a tedious maniac of vaping, but he is a scolar first. He made a recearch,
    and he also wrote a post.

    • Frank Davis says:

      It goes away very slowly.

      Just so long as it goes away.

      • beobrigitte says:

        What would be the most logic thing to do, Frank and Dmitry?
        Get tested. And, Frank, a visit to your GP may work better than self diagnosis.
        If your body is making the SARS2 antibody you KNOW you have had it. Simples.
        Oh, Britain has a problem here….. it’s going for herd immunity which leaves a 30 year long sick work force.
        Look up where in your body ACE2 receptors are (and no, they have absolutely NOTHING to do with immunity! Learn about the ACE system). Not testing and taking the affected people out of circulation results in more severe sick people —> high death rate —-> long term sick work force.
        And the anti-smokers’ free run to blame it on smoking.

        But then… common sense … why use it when you can climb onto the “deep state, reptile alien, Illuminati, bioweapon, etc. etc. spaceship? MBGA??? With a long term sick work force?
        Good luck.

  5. Steven Simon. says:

    Frank,get well soon.I have two concerns.Firstly those people who have to self isolate in their homes will have this effect.Will that increase senile dementia,Alzheimer’s and for those who have suicidal thoughts become more suicidal,that is the flip side.
    Next everybody who dies with underlying health problems will they become included in the Coronavirus deaths.As you know the only thing that gets in the way of statistics is the truth as in smoking deaths.Keep well everybody and stay strong mentally.

  6. Joe L. says:

    The epidemiologist who devised the highly-cited COVID-19 model which projected 2.2 million people would die from it in the U.S. and 500,000 would die in the U.K. has revised his numbers. He is now estimating that for the U.K., “20,000 or far fewer people will die from the virus itself or from its agitation of other ailments.” That’s a 96% reduction, and puts COVID-19 on par with a bad flu season. Pretty much the entire world has come to a grinding halt for what may amount to a bad flu season.

    Epidemiologist Behind Highly-Cited Coronavirus Model Drastically Downgrades Projection

    Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who created the highly-cited Imperial College London coronavirus model, which has been cited by organizations like The New York Times and has been instrumental in governmental policy decision-making, offered a massively downgraded projection of the potential deathtoll on Wednesday.

    Ferguson’s model projected 2.2 million dead people in the United States and 500,000 in the U.K. from COVID-19 if no action were taken to slow the virus and blunt its curve. The model predicted far fewer deaths if lockdown measures — measures such as those taken by the British and American governments — were undertaken.

    After just one day of ordered lockdowns in the U.K., Ferguson is presenting drastically downgraded estimates, crediting lockdown measures, but also revealing that far more people likely have the virus than his team figured.

    Ferguson explained, “I should admit, we’ve always been sensitive in the analysis in the modeling to a variety of levels or values to those quantities. What we’ve been seeing, though, in Europe in the last week or two is a rate of growth of the epidemic which was faster than we expected from early data in China. And so we are revising our quotes, our central best estimate of the reproduction…something on the order of three or a little bit above rather than about 2.5.” He added, “the current values are still within the wide range of values which modeling groups [unintelligible] we should have been looking at previously.”

    A higher rate of transmission than expected means that more people have the virus than previously expected; when the number of those with coronavirus is divided by the number of deaths, therefore, the mortality rate for the disease drops.

    Based on both those revised estimates and the lockdown measures taken by the British government, the epidemiologist predicts, hospitals will be just fine taking on COVID-19 patients and estimates 20,000 or far fewer people will die from the virus itself or from its agitation of other ailments, as reported by New Scientist Wednesday.

    Ferguson’s change of tune comes days after Oxford epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta criticized the professor’s model.

    “I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,” Gupta said, according to the Financial Times.

    Professor Gupta led a team of researchers at Oxford in a modeling study which suggests that the virus has been invisibly spreading for at least a month earlier than suspected, concluding that as many as half of the people in the United Kingdom have already been infected by COVID-19.

    If her model is accurate, fewer than one in a thousand who’ve been infected with COVID-19 become sick enough to need hospitalization, leaving the vast majority with mild cases or free of symptoms.

    Ferguson did continue to argue that the Oxford model is too optimistic about death rates.

    • beobrigitte says:

      That’s a 96% reduction, and puts COVID-19 on par with a bad flu season.
      Ah, the flu again? Do all flu deaths make crematoriums work 24/7 and coffins piling up in churches and ice rinks?

      Perhaps opening eyes to reality proves models to be what they are: models.

      • Joe L. says:

        Brigitte, I’m not convinced this virus is on par with a bad strain of the flu. I’m also not convinced this virus is deadly enough to warrant shutting down the entire world. What I do know is that I don’t know shit about what is really going on, and I’m making a point that the “experts” clearly have no idea, either. It seems like every other day we receive some kind of information which contradicts information we were previously given. And the numbers of confirmed cases are pretty much useless, because testing is still very limited and reserved for the most seriously ill, which skews the numbers, artificially inflating the case fatality rate.

        As smokers, we know better than to blindly trust the “experts,” but in this case, there isn’t even any reliable data that we can examine for ourselves. We are completely in the dark, and are at the mercy of those in positions of power. It’s not a very pleasant place to be.

  7. waltc says:

    You might. Also alternatively have a bacterial “walking pneumonia” which can have no accompanying fever and may be helped by an antibiotic. A dioctor and a chest Xray can tell you.

  8. Dirk says:

    Dear Frank, on March, 18, 2020 your blog post was titled Over-Reaching Government Responses and you quoted Ron Paul: “On Face the Nation, Fauci did his best to further damage an already tanking economy by stating, “Right now, personally, myself, I wouldn’t go to a restaurant. He has pushed for closing the entire country down for 14 days. Over what? A virus that has thus far killed just over 5,000 worldwide and less than 100 in the United States? By contrast, tuberculosis, an old disease not much discussed these days, killed nearly 1.6 million people in 2017. Where’s the panic over this?”
    Now, on March, 27, there are 85,605 cases in the USA and 1,301 deaths.
    Your heroes such as Breitbart, Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh all said that it was just a flu.
    Look at the situation now. Every other day 800 deaths in Italy and Spain, and the USA is rapidly becoming the new Italy.
    I’ve always wondered why you always agreed with those aforementioned idiots and with Trump for that matter since Trump lacks empathy and is only concerned with the economy. He’ll open up the country at Easter he said. He is not in charge of social distancing, the governors are.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’ve always wondered why you always agreed with those aforementioned idiots and with Trump for that matter since Trump lacks empathy and is only concerned with the economy.

      I used to be a bit left wing. The smoking ban changed everything. I’ve now become pretty right wing / conservative. “A conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged” pretty much sums me up. That’s why I listen to Rush, Michael Savage, etc.

      Does Trump lack empathy? I don’t think so. I think that he sees Covid-19 as just another flu epidemic, that shouldn’t be allowed to crash the economy (which provided the bread and butter to keep us alive). An economic crash can be as serious as a pandemic.

  9. slugbop007 says:

    These are the CDC’s approximate estimates on total flu deaths in the U.S.A. stics from 2019-20:


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