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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic: Amtrak-related Discussion

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Qapla

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It is not a good idea to repeatedly take the mask off and put it on
I see many who drop the facial covering (not all use actual masks) down to their necks and raise it back up when need be. Since a kerchief is an acceptable covering - this should not be difficult .... especially when the purpose of the mask isn't to keep you from getting the virus, it is to keep you from spreading the virus - so, puting it off and on should not cause any additional risk to you ... unless you are getting so close to those without a mask that they are "breathing/spitting" on your mask.

By keeping the mask on all the time can oversaturate it with moisture from your body and partially defeat the reason you are wearing it ... so, taking it off and on will help keep it drier.

BTW - That's why I carry more than one mask - we made our own since buying them was problematic, at best. When I go into a public building, I put my mask on. I DO NOT touch my mask or my glasses while in the store if I can help it. I do carry a "disinfectant wipe" with me incase I do have to touch my glasses and clean them off before putting them back on. When I get back to my vehicle, I clean my hands, keys and door handle with a new disinfectant wipe before I remove the mask.
 

jis

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If there is any significant viral load around, dropping a mask and then pulling it up only moves the virus around closer to ones nose and mouth. It works OK in relatively low viral load areas like Florida where mainly the purpose of the mask is to reduce the flow of virus from inside the mask to outside and not protect much from anything coming from outside. I actually wear a real N95 respirator meant to keep bad things out, so the rules I follow are somewhat different. It is a real respirator so the issue of moisture and what not is much less. If I have to run multiple chores with frequent stops, I tend to just keep it on until I am done with all.
 

Devil's Advocate

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The primary benefit of wearing a cloth or consumer grade mask is for group protection. Such a covering mainly helps to collect and contain infectious matter a mask-wearing carrier may expel before it can reach uninfected people and shared surfaces nearby. In other words, your mask helps keep the people around you safe while their masks help keep you safe. Wearing a cloth or consumer grade mask in close proximity to an infected person who is not wearing a mask is unlikely to keep you safe in and of itself.
 

jiml

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Toronto area
The primary benefit of wearing a cloth or consumer grade mask is for group protection. Such a covering mainly helps to collect and contain infectious matter a mask-wearing carrier may expel before it can reach uninfected people and shared surfaces nearby. In other words, your mask helps keep the people around you safe while their masks help keep you safe. Wearing a cloth or consumer grade mask in close proximity to an infected person who is not wearing a mask is unlikely to keep you safe in and of itself.
I am so glad someone finally posted this. It is a completely accurate description of how "a cloth or consumer grade mask" works, according to many experts including Canada's equivalent of the Surgeon General. My wife, who just retired from a 40 year career in nursing, has been trying to tell people this. A non-respirator mask only works in one direction and reduces the spread from an infected person. This is one reason they are called surgical masks, preventing the spread of infection to someone who is "opened up" during surgery. They don't do much in the other direction. This recently led to posts on social media that the masks needed to be reversed, i.e. blue side towards the face, to protect the wearer. We saw dozens of people doing this in the Costco line this week. The theory has been debunked - easily searchable on Google.

If you're healthy, the only purpose wearing a basic mask in public serves is to reassure others. That doesn't mean it's a bad idea, but people shouldn't get a false sense of security that they're protected in a large group or if someone coughs or sneezes near them.
 

AmtrakBlue

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The primary benefit of wearing a cloth or consumer grade mask is for group protection. Such a covering mainly helps to collect and contain infectious matter a mask-wearing carrier may expel before it can reach uninfected people and shared surfaces nearby. In other words, your mask helps keep the people around you safe while their masks help keep you safe. Wearing a cloth or consumer grade mask in close proximity to an infected person who is not wearing a mask is unlikely to keep you safe in and of itself.
Which is why I stop and turn my back to anyone not wearing a mask who is approaching to pass me. Gives me a little more protection.
 

Barb Stout

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The scary truth is that you are better off lacking the perception of safety when safety is not present. This lack of perception will encourage you to treat the situation as if it is unsafe. Feeling like you are protected when you are not is in fact extremely dangerous. Ideas like putting HEPA filters on the air vents of roommates are an example of perception of safety.
Yes, I worked in the clinical laboratory setting back in the early days of HIV and this difference between perception of safety and actual safety is one of the reasons that health authorities implemented "Universal Precautions" where every blood and body fluid sample that came into the laboratory was treated as if it contained HIV or other deadly infectious microorganism. Prior to the implementation of universal precautions, the blood and body fluid samples that came from patients suspected to be infected with HIV were marked with a black star along with associated paperwork including certain patient records. The black star days did not last very long and the black star marks on patient paper records did not survive the transfer to everything being done on the computer.
 

Qapla

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I am so glad someone finally posted this.
Perhaps my explanation wasn't clear, I guess ... since 2 posts prior to this I had already made this same point ...

the purpose of the mask isn't to keep you from getting the virus, it is to keep you from spreading the virus - so, puting it off and on should not cause any additional risk to you
 

Samsbigtrip

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Wiltshire, UK
The primary benefit of wearing a cloth or consumer grade mask is for group protection. [...]
We say "I wear my face-covering to protect you. You wear yours to protect me." I was rather self-conscious when I first went up to the shop in mine (I have several and wash them after each use), but I think that the more people wear them the more people will be encouraged to do the same.
Stay safe everyone, stay well - and as our Prime Minister says "Stay a lert" whatever that is!
 

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Ziv

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Oct 25, 2011
Messages
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I am flying from DCA to Montana on the 28th and I am going to take 3 face masks, each in a zip loc bag. I only need one, but I figure that I will take it off in Denver during the layover so I ought to have a spare. If I could take my Lysol Spray Disinfectant I could clean the face mask by spraying it and leaving it in the zip loc for 10 minutes or more. But since Lysol cans are not allowed to be carried I will have to have a clean mask for each leg of the trip and one for meeting my Mom in Montana. Which reminds me, I have to ask my Mom to see if she can buy a can or two of Lysol before I get there for me and the Air BNB I am staying at...
I will bring a dozen pairs of disposable gloves in a separate zip loc.
I am really curious to see how DCA, DEN, Billings Logan International and United are handling their Covid-19 precautions.
Any advice on safe traveling would be appreciated. Though I think I am going to be pretty safe, you never know what you don't know.
 

Barb Stout

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If I could take my Lysol Spray Disinfectant I could clean the face mask by spraying it and leaving it in the zip loc for 10 minutes or more. But since Lysol cans are not allowed to be carried I will have to have a clean mask for each leg of the trip and one for meeting my Mom in Montana. Which reminds me, I have to ask my Mom to see if she can buy a can or two of Lysol before I get there for me and the Air BNB I am staying at...
I really would not apply Lysol to anything you're going to put up against your face. Wash the mask with soap and water and let it dry. If you have several masks, bring them to wear while the newly cleaned one is drying (in the sun, if you can).
 

niemi24s

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I really would not apply Lysol to anything you're going to put up against your face.
And, pray tell, why not? The MSDS for this product. . . https://www.vercounty.org/MSDS/SDS-Tech Services/21-Professional Lysol Disinfectant Spray All Scents_SDS.pdf . . .shows its disinfecting ingredient to be ethyl alcohol with gaseous (once sprayed) propellants. The gaseous propellants dissipate into the atmosphere and after the ethyl alcohol evaporates what remains is - uh - the mask.

In addition, Lysol Disinfectant Spray is on the EPA list of approved Covid-19 disinfectants (see EPA Registration Number 777-99 here: List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 | US EPA )

Edited to add: And the fabric or paper of the mask should be totally saturated with any disinfectant spray - and not merely given a light moistening.
 
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Ziv

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I use antibacterial soap to give the mask a good cleaning when there is time for the mask to dry but that won't be the case during a 1 hour layover. I have Japanese friends who have used the zip loc technique over the years since SARS. It is fairly common in Japan, apparently. It seems to work well.

I really would not apply Lysol to anything you're going to put up against your face. Wash the mask with soap and water and let it dry. If you have several masks, bring them to wear while the newly cleaned one is drying (in the sun, if you can).
 

Green Maned Lion

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Stay safe everyone, stay well - and as our Prime Minister says "Stay a lert" whatever that is!
Be a lert. The world needs all the lerts it can get. (Sorry, my erstwhile sense of humor has not matured. The rest of me hasn't really either, but we'll conveniently ignore that.)

My wife is a house cleaner, and guidance on our situation remains generally unclear. Some of the people who she knows in the business are still engaging with every client that will have them. I consider that a violation of our governors stay at home order. I honestly can't think of a lack of risk in a business that goes into one persons home, scrubs the floors and walls and tabletops, and then transports themselves to another home- even fully with PPE.

Her class of job isn't specifically listed, but I've decided to classify her as "personal care" as provided in someone's home without medical need. When the governor allows that class of person to resume work, we'll resume our work life. Or at least try to- three quarters of her clients canceled before we decided to pull the plug ourselves.
 

Devil's Advocate

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If I could take my Lysol Spray Disinfectant I could clean the face mask by spraying it and leaving it in the zip loc for 10 minutes or more. But since Lysol cans are not allowed to be carried I will have to have a clean mask for each leg of the trip and one for meeting my Mom in Montana.
They actually sell a travel size that will clear TSA requirements, but I still wouldn't recommend it for off-label usage unless you're truly stuck with no other solution. I mainly use it for situations like cleaning a sticky armrest, soiled seat tray, funky toilet seat, or lavatory door handle.
LysolTravelSizeHoriz.jpeg
Looks like this. ^

And, pray tell, why not? The MSDS for this product...shows its disinfecting ingredient to be ethyl alcohol with gaseous (once sprayed) propellants. The gaseous propellants dissipate into the atmosphere and after the ethyl alcohol evaporates what remains is - uh - the mask. In addition, Lysol Disinfectant Spray is on the EPA list of approved Covid-19 disinfectants
The last time I looked into such things Lysol's disinfectant efficacy was unproven on cloth surfaces. Lysol is labeled and intended for hard nonporous surfaces rather than woven fibers. Tested on-label usage did not include spraying facial coverings used in close proximity to active airways and mucous membranes. Lasting effects of moderate exposure may appear subclinical in primitive test subjects with limited means of higher-level cognitive analysis. Common industrial propellants can harm or even kill with excessive off-label exposure and most consumers are unlikely to be aware of this. Last but not least the EPA seems to have switched roles and now appears to be focused primarily on placating industry and protecting polluters from pesky consumers. When agency staff have spoken up about a lack of rigorous testing, monitoring, and investigating they were ignored or fired instead of protected. So I'd take any recent endorsements with a grain of salt.
 
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Green Maned Lion

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4. Common industrial propellants can harm or even kill you with excessive off-label exposure.
Lets remove "off-label" from that. Most substances that are generally immediately deadly to viruses (or bacteria, insects, and other living organisms) are going to be harmful in substantially larger doses (or extensive numbers of doses) to larger forms of life, such as, well, humans. Lysol's purpose and intent is to kill unwanted orgamisms (aka germs). There is nothing about it that particularly formulates it to kill "organisms we don't like" and to be inert to "organisms we do like".

It is relatively "safe" for use in contact with humans because the dosage of lysol required to kill tiny little things so small we can't even see them is not enough to immediately kill dogs, cats, or us. But if you spray that scheiße on something you are going to spend the next period of time breathing through, I would be extremely surprised if it did not do damage to your mouth, nose, throat, and lungs.

As with how we isolate ourselves from the virus vs try to live our lives, sanitizing things with harmful substances to protect us from other harmful things is a balancing act. If you wish to sanitize your mask, I would suggest the same substance my wife, as a professional house cleaner, uses for the same purpose. That is a 40% solution of Ethyl alcohol in water- also known as cheap vodka. Its not harmless to you, but it is less harmful than lysol, and still very likely to sanitize your mask.

Unlike lysol, you can also use this solution to sanitize yourself internally, although I suspect the clinical efficacy of this is lacking. Still, I am going to take this precaution, although I am going use a 47% solution suspended in water made from a single Islay or Highland malt and aged 12-15 years. At least that's my excuse for my continued war on my liver and kidneys.
 

Eric in East County

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This morning, we called Amtrak and canceled our July trip back to Ohio. We had to cancel last year’s trip when a gall bladder issue arose for Pat shortly before we were scheduled to leave. We’d booked this year’s trip last January, well before anybody knew about COVID-19 and the impact it was going to have on the country. While we weren’t too concerned about traveling by train, things back in Ohio are still a little unsettled, which is why we decided to postpone our trip until next year.

We called Amtrak first thing this morning and got through to an agent right away. Our Southwest Chief tickets had been purchased using a combination of cash and an e-voucher. Handling this type of a refund must have spooked the first agent we talked to since she put us on hold and never came back. After about 20 minutes of holding, another agent picked up and was able to straighten everything out. We’ll be getting back the cash payment we made last January and another e-voucher good for the next 12 months. (The lady that handles the e-vouchers was apparently not there today but will be in tomorrow. The agent said she’d call us back tomorrow afternoon to verify that the e-voucher went through. She then transferred us to Guest Rewards, since our Pacific Surfliner and Capitol Limited tickets had been purchased using travel points. We got all of them back and plan to use them next year, along with the e-voucher.

Naturally, we disappointed about having to cancel our trip, but we can see that it was for the best.

Stay safe.

Eric & Pat
 

Samsbigtrip

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Wiltshire, UK
I am flying from DCA to Montana on the 28th and I am going to take 3 face masks, each in a zip loc bag. I only need one, but I figure that I will take it off in Denver during the layover so I ought to have a spare. [...]
You should take as many as you can because you should not put a face-covering back on once you have taken it off. When you take it off be very careful not to let the outside of the mask touch your face. You should seal it in a zip-lock bag (until you can wash it in hot soapy water), and then wash your hands. You should also wash your hands before putting on a clean mask.
Happy travels!
 
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Samsbigtrip

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Jan 10, 2020
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Wiltshire, UK
Be a lert. The world needs all the lerts it can get. (Sorry, my erstwhile sense of humor has not matured. The rest of me hasn't really either, but we'll conveniently ignore that.)
[...]
The old ones are the best!
It's such a ridiculous thing for him to say - I have to be alert in my own home for what? The previous advice was the best (after the initial attempt a herd immunity) "Stay Home, Stay Safe!
 

Barb Stout

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I use antibacterial soap to give the mask a good cleaning when there is time for the mask to dry but that won't be the case during a 1 hour layover. I have Japanese friends who have used the zip loc technique over the years since SARS. It is fairly common in Japan, apparently. It seems to work well.
I made that statement based on personal experience with eye irritation and shortness of breath after entering places that had been sprayed with Lysol, not by looking at the ingredients. I guess you'll know pretty much know right away if your proposed method will cause problems for you or not. I am fairly sensitive to cleaners; for awhile I also had trouble with bleach having been sensitized to it over the years of using it in the clinical (and research) labs. And laundry!
 

20th Century Rider

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At this time we are only able to contain this viral disease… we won’t be safe until there’s consistency with an actual cure, and a preventative vaccine. We DON’T have that yet. It has been shown that when folks come together for religious gatherings, sporting events, socializing in homes, and sitting around a table at meals... have brought lethal outcomes. Travel has aways had some risks, but now more than ever. Understood; we're all feeling restless as a kid sitting in a classroom on a sunny spring day!

Be patient and stay safe and maintain logical reasoning. Listen to the medical professionals, it may be a year until things return to some semblance of normal. Staying home and social distancing are how we can slow the spread of the virus... discipline and patience can literally save your life. Regardless of 'opening up' policies, always better to er on the side of caution. Best of wishes and good luck to us all!
 

NS VIA Fan

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The US/Canada Border is to remain closed to non-essential travel until at least June 21......so no resumption of Amtrak service until then and probably longer than that!

 
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Siegmund

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northwestern Montana
I am flying from DCA to Montana on the 28th....
I am really curious to see how DCA, DEN, Billings Logan International and United are handling their Covid-19 precautions.
It may change by the 28th -- but right now, the Montana National Guard will meet your flight, take your temperature, and ask you where you are planning to serve your 14-day quarantine (though they won't actually check up on you to see if you do; there was generally no enforcement action in Montana of the stay-at-home order or the travel restrictions. Police don't ask where you are going at routine traffic stops.)
 

MARC Rider

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Unlike lysol, you can also use this solution to sanitize yourself internally, although I suspect the clinical efficacy of this is lacking. Still, I am going to take this precaution, although I am going use a 47% solution suspended in water made from a single Islay or Highland malt and aged 12-15 years. At least that's my excuse for my continued war on my liver and kidneys.
Sorry to be a nitpicker, but in the potion you plan to use, the ethanol is dissolved in the water, not "suspended." Also, it's the ethanol that's made from a single malt, not the water, but it is true that the resulting solution is aged for 12-15 years.

You are correct in that internal use of this solution will give your liver and kidneys a workout, but if you keep the use moderate, your lifespan should not be reduced too much.

I just bought my first bottle of hand sanitizer made by a repurposed brewery. It says "topical use only," which makes me suspect they denatured the stuff before they could sell it outside of a liquor store.
 

Michigan Mom

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I've been using old T shirts cut into big squares then doubled to form a bandana shape. The nice thing is that they cover down to the collar area, are tucked in, and used once, then tossed in the washer. Every time I go into a store I wonder how the employees feel about people coming in, resembling would be robbers! Then again this is now a gesture of respect. Also been reliant on glasses instead of my contacts, for additional protection, once home, can wash face and glasses both.
There is so much happening now that maybe should have been happening sooner. People being conscious of hand washing, sanitizing surfaces, and not having loud cell phone conversations into the air while shopping, are all developments that are arguably way overdue anyway.
 
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