I know what you're thinking, "Darn, Survival Gal, you are S-O-O-O smart (and ALWAYS right!), how do you do it?"

Easy, first, I am a Business Administration major, and, I have a mystical, magical superpower called... R-E-A-D-I-N-G... and I have always consulted the sacred texts of oracles called... S-C-I-E-N-T-I-S-T-S!.... Seriously, ignore... you - know - who - and pick up a book once in a while.

Now that we know more about C-19, and are learning more all the time, this next post on reopening REI (you know, the subject of this thread?), should be interesting to REI store workers and customers alike. But first...  


Buckle up, we are NOT near the end of C-19, we're not even near the middle! (thanks to reopening), to give you a feel for where we are in this, I've been predicting for weeks now (to friends IRL), that before this is over, we will reach 200,000 deaths in the US. The reason I say this is because pandemics like C-19 follow a kind of "bell curve." If we experience 100,000 deaths before the top of that curve, then we can expect 100,000 deaths after the top (this scenario is consistent with what we know from China and Italy).

Unfortunately, you - know - who is leading the charge to reopen, which will "reshuffle the deck" right in the middle of the hand we've been dealt, so the number of deaths could be higher AND could go on longer!  

THE BASIC (but important) INFO' 

Now for the good news (in a manner of speaking), we not only know more about how C-19 is transmitted, we know more about how it's contracted and there Is a familiar example. Giardia!

As many of you are outdoor enthusiasts, you may know you can get Giardia through cysts. What you may NOT know is, it's not a matter of drinking a single cyst. If you drink 50 cysts, you'll probably not get Giardia, if you drink 100 cysts, you may get Giardia, if you drink 150 cysts, you probably will get Giardia. The key word here is, "LOAD."  

It's unlikely you will be infected if you breathe in a single C-19 virus in a single droplet from the single cough, sneeze, laugh, or breath of a single infected person! To be infected with C-19, you must be infected with a sufficient "viral load."  How much is that? Well, that's a little harder to say, but there ARE examples and guidelines, but generally speaking, it depends on, 1-Duration of exposure, 2- The ambient airflow around you (particularly if you are in an enclosed space), 3- How deeply you are breathing, and 4- How forcefully the infected person is exhaling, etc.  

So, if you are passing a runner or hiker who is breathing hard (WITHOUT a mask) on a trail in sunny, windy weather? Relax, I'm sure you will be fine. If you are in a room (ie an enclosed office, restaurant, etc.) for an hour or longer, particularly if you are "down wind" in the air conditioning flow, you'll probably get infected.

What about in a grocery store or an REI store? If you limit your time by making a list, getting your stuff, and getting out ASAP, you're probably okay. On the other hand, the employees run a MUCH higher risk of infection because they are in that environment (even though it's large) much longer! 


In order to get infected you need to get exposed to an infectious dose of the virus, it appears only small doses may be needed for infection to take hold. Some experts estimate as few as 1000 C-19 infectious viral particles are all that is needed (NOTE: this still needs to be determined experimentally, but we can use "1000" as an example).

You can receive 1000 infectious viral particles in one breath or from one eye-rub, or 100 viral particles inhaled with each breath over 10 breaths, or 10 viral particles with 100 breaths. Each of these situations can lead to an infection.   

Cough: A single cough releases about 3,000 droplets which travel at 50 miles per hour. Most droplets are large, and fall quickly, but many stay in the air and can travel across a room in a few seconds. Sneeze: A single sneeze releases about 30,000 droplets, with droplets traveling at up to 200 miles per hour. Most droplets are small and travel great distances (easily across a room).

If a person is infected, the droplets in a single cough or sneeze may contain as many as two hundred million virus particles! If a person coughs or sneezes, those viral particles go everywhere. Some virus hangs in the air, some falls into surfaces, most falls to the ground. So if you are face-to-face with a person, having a conversation, and that person sneezes or coughs straight at you, it's pretty easy to see how it is possible to inhale 1,000 virus particles and become infected.

Even if that cough or sneeze was not directed at you, some infected droplets -the smallest - can hang in the air for a few minutes, filling every corner of a modest sized room with infectious viral particles. All you have to do is enter that room within a few minutes of the cough/sneeze and take a few breaths and you have potentially received enough virus to establish an infection.

Breath: A single breath releases 50 - 5000 droplets. Most of these droplets are low velocity and fall to the ground quickly. There are even fewer droplets released through nose-breathing. Importantly, due to the lack of exhalation force with a breath, viral particles from the lower respiratory areas are not expelled. Unlike sneezing and coughing which release huge amounts of viral material, the respiratory droplets released from breathing only contain low levels of virus (studies have shown a person infected with the flu can releases up to 33 infectious viral particles per minute).  

Speaking increases the release of respiratory droplets about 10 fold; ~200 virus particles per minute. Again, assuming every virus is inhaled, it would take ~5 minutes of speaking face-to-face to receive the required dose. Anyone you spend greater than 10 minutes with in a face-to-face situation is potentially infected. Anyone who shares a space with you (say an office) for an extended period is potentially infected.    

Singing, to a greater degree than talking, aerosolizes respiratory droplets extraordinarily well. At a choir practice, deep-breathing while singing facilitated those respiratory droplets getting deep into the lungs. Two and half hours of exposure ensured that people were exposed to enough virus over a long enough period of time for infection to take place. Over a period of 4 days, 45 of the 60 choir members developed symptoms, 2 died. The youngest infected was 31, but they averaged 67 years old. Loud talking, shouting, laughing, etc. likewise increases the range and chances of infection.  

CAVEAT: At least 44% of all infections--and the majority of community-acquired transmissions--occur from people without any symptoms (asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people). You can be shedding the virus into the environment for up to 5 days before symptoms begin. Infectious people come in all ages, and they all shed different amounts of virus. You can have a little bit of virus or a lot of virus. The amount of virus released from an infected person changes over the course of infection and it is also different from person-to-person. Viral load generally builds up to the point where the person becomes symptomatic. So just prior to symptoms showing, you are releasing the most virus into the environment. Interestingly, the data shows that just 20% of infected people are responsible for 99% of viral load that could potentially be released.  


Now that you're sufficiently informed (or board), you can see how this may shape an REI reopening. Toward that end, I have already seen two possible models, the McDonald's Model and the Jack's Model.

In the McDonald's Model, they have a detailed, 69-page manual outlining their reopening. I have not seen it, but it apparently depends on workers keeping a tidy store (wiping-down each kiosk, table, chair, etc.) after each and every customers' use, AND, depending on each customer to maintain social distancing and hygiene standards (I don't know about you, but I've been watching people and they ALREADY can't do that!)  

The Jack's Model I've already seen in action for the past few weeks now at several stores, and it looks like this; First, they limit the number of customers in the store while the others que-up outside (NO MASK, NO SERVICE!) Next, they close access to most of the floor area in front of the counter (less to clean/maintain). Then, at the register, customers order through an erected plastic barrier with cut-outs where purchases are passed through. And finally, all employees wear masks and gloves.... EH-HEM!... Is this not what I suggested here some time ago?!  

My previous suggestions still stand.