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

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Chey

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Messages
455
Hand hygiene and surface cleaning are the most important factors in my opinion.
What do you make of the CDC now saying Covid-19 doesn't spread easily from contaminated surfaces? I was very surprised. They haven't reversed themselves about hand washing at least
 

capltd29

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
332
I haven't heard that. I've only heard that it can last hours to days on surface. Do you have a link I can look at? People should wash their hands.
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,604
What do you make of the CDC now saying Covid-19 doesn't spread easily from contaminated surfaces? I was very surprised. They haven't reversed themselves about hand washing at least

I haven't heard that. I've only heard that it can last hours to days on surface. Do you have a link I can look at? People should wash their hands.
Apparently the news outlets have misunderstood some changes the CDC made to it's website per this report:

CDC Advice On Surface Spread Of COVID-19 'Has Not Changed,' Agency Says
 

anumberone

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
1,270
Delusional? Or willing to do anything, no matter how risky or stupid or discourteous, to please his boss?

Unless this is an old photo, taken pre-C19?
I was current, video from yesterday. Same day his boss was showing his mug to the Ford Execs.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,021
I'm a little late to this discussion, but thought I would chime in on the ventilation discussion. As mentioned above, Covid is primarily transmitted by droplets, from a cough or sneeze or very vigorous phonation like screaming or singing. It can become airborne or aerosolized by certain procedures such as use of a CPAP or BiPAP or a nebulizer machine. I could see a scenario where an infected passenger innocently uses their CPAP on the train and creates an airborne situation and could potentially contaminate nearby people. I still think its unlikely it would be able to travel through all of the duct work to a far away room. I don't know if Amtrak has temporarily banned the use of these devices, but they probably should...although the chances of an asymptomatic person carrying COVID 19 happens to be using a CPAP on the train near where you are sleeping seem exceedingly low.
Violation of ADA. Amtrak, like other corporations, is required to make reasonable accommodation for those with disabilities.
 

Lacunacoil

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
19
I pulled up to my hotel on long island and canceled due to no individual air conditioning vents, I could see from outside it was shared air system. Right now shared air systems bother me mentally with coronavirus. I do shop daily but usually in out in 15 minutes. If I can get antibody test n find out I already had coronavirus I'd get on train tomorrow to los Angeles from nyc. Right now I'm scared.
 

HenryK

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
222
Since I live in a retirement community whose population is aged and largely infirm, I am treating every hard surface I encounter as if it is radioactive, keeping people 12 feet away (not 6) even if they are masked, and staying 30 feet away if they aren't. And I handwash and sanitize to beat the band. Being paranoid and hypochondriac has helped me live to the age of 80, and I plan to continue. As for changes at the CDC, science is always second-guessing itself—that is its nature—and I have no trouble with its tweaking of data and advice.
 

Green Maned Lion

Conductor
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,109
From what I can tell people tend to approach this in two formats- uninformed and overly cautious, or uninformed and overly reckless.

I would suggest making an effort to not touch surfaces with your hands or frontal areas of your body you tend to touch with your hands, and certainly avoid touching your face (one of the benefits of a mask is it makes it more of thought-out exercise to touch ones face, making it easier to avoid doing so). Once you get back to your own home, I suggest you remove your outside clothing, wash your hands thoroughly, and then put on an indoor-only robe or such outfit- unless you are like me and have no problem walking about your house in your undergarments. Sitting on an outside bench, for instance, provides a very mild risk if you don't touch it with your hands and then touch your face- a more substantial one if you do- and keep in mind that many of you probably use your hands to help yourself up when you stand.

I also suggest, especially for people in that last category, a cane or walking stick. I walk with a cane (I need one), and they provide many functions people don't think about. You can touch a handicap-access pad to open a door with the tip of a cane. You can push all kinds of buttons with the tip of a cane, actually. You push open a push-door with a cane. You can use the shaft of a cane to open many pull doors by inserting it into the pull handle and pulling on the upper part of the shaft. You can use it to help measure appropriate social distance- two cane-lengths is about six feet for the average person. You can use it to rest on instead of a public object that could be contaminated. And you can use it to help lever yourself up from a seat without touching anything else.

If I were you, however, I would stop worrying about shared air-ducting. Air-conditioners blow air through the system creating positive air pressure, which means that it blows air into the rooms it serves, but that duct does NOT pull air out, so air from room A is not going to be delivered to room B from it. It could potentially move air between the rooms when the entire system is off, but that will be at such slow speeds and rates, you might as well be outside, and the travel distance between you and the next room via those air ducts is going to be quite a distance- 15-20 feet minimum.

There is such a thing as an air-return duct, though not all systems use them, but those things utilize negative air pressure to pull air out of all room and take it to the cooling system- but those, when functioning, will be pulling air out only. They can pose air transfer between rooms when off, but again, the travel distance of the air from the mouth of person A, to the return duct, through the ducting, to the next rooms return duct, and then from that return duct to person B's mouth is going to be quite long. Think of how far you are from the duct, realize that on average the next person is going to be that far from the duct, and that the distance between ducts will also be large.

As for processing THROUGH an air-conditioning system, air conditioning cools air primarily through evaporative cooling- it removes moisture from the air- that's why the units drip. The air being moved out of an A/C unit is not going to be suitable for supporting a living virus.

People either tend to disregard their safety entirely, or tend to be fearful of things they don't need to be fearful of. The virus is real and dangerous- but a lot of the things people fear are not part of the actual problem. It would be fairly accurate to say that if you aren't touching a contaminated surface, and you can not see a person, they are generally providing you no present danger. Breathed upon food is generally not particularly dangerous either, as the gastro-intestinal tract is probably the most hostile-to-virus parts of your body (bacteria is another matter), although it is better to avoid such if you can.
 

Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
346
My wife saw a pulmonologist yesterday for a follow up of respiratory infection this past winter. She said a mask mainly protects the other guy from your germs/virus, especially the larger moisture droplets. Very important if you've been sick or are asymptomatic for the virus. Does little to protect you from breathing in someone else's microns of any infection (without a N-95 mask).
You know, I have heard this a lot and accepted it without questioning it, but why would cloth masks protect others, but not protect you from other's respiratory droplets? Why would it work just one way? I'm thinking there is some protection afforded to the wearer of the cloth mask as well.
 

Green Maned Lion

Conductor
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,109
You know, I have heard this a lot and accepted it without questioning it, but why would cloth masks protect others, but not protect you from other's respiratory droplets? Why would it work just one way? I'm thinking there is some protection afforded to the wearer of the cloth mask as well.
Here's how it works, Barb. When you exhale, the droplets from your breath get caught in the mask, and become dried out and non-infective from your breath. You will not generally exhale with enough force to remove the droplets from the mask with enough velocity and size to provide viable infective moisture to somebody around you.

However, if they were to exhale in such a manner that saliva becomes embedded in your mask, and you were to breathe in, the distance between the moisture on the mask and your face, and the amount of suction, can quite easily pull the infected moisture into your mouth and nose, thus providing the potential for infecting you.

It would be inaccurate to say it provides NO protection. It does, indeed, provide some. But it does not provide enough protection, in reality, for that protection to change the behavior you should engage in were you not even wearing one. The best way for the unwashed masses to be instructed, for their own safety, is to be told it provides no protection at all- because that is the degree to which wearing one should change your behavior.
 

Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
346
Here's how it works, Barb. When you exhale, the droplets from your breath get caught in the mask, and become dried out and non-infective from your breath. You will not generally exhale with enough force to remove the droplets from the mask with enough velocity and size to provide viable infective moisture to somebody around you.

However, if they were to exhale in such a manner that saliva becomes embedded in your mask, and you were to breathe in, the distance between the moisture on the mask and your face, and the amount of suction, can quite easily pull the infected moisture into your mouth and nose, thus providing the potential for infecting you.

It would be inaccurate to say it provides NO protection. It does, indeed, provide some. But it does not provide enough protection, in reality, for that protection to change the behavior you should engage in were you not even wearing one. The best way for the unwashed masses to be instructed, for their own safety, is to be told it provides no protection at all- because that is the degree to which wearing one should change your behavior.
Thank you, Masked Man!
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,407
I pulled up to my hotel on long island and canceled due to no individual air conditioning vents, I could see from outside it was shared air system. Right now shared air systems bother me mentally with coronavirus. I do shop daily but usually in out in 15 minutes. If I can get antibody test n find out I already had coronavirus I'd get on train tomorrow to los Angeles from nyc. Right now I'm scared.
But everyone that wants a Test can get one according to President Trump. He said that back in Early April!! Must be True!!!
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
685
From what I can tell people tend to approach this in two formats- uninformed and overly cautious, or uninformed and overly reckless.

I would suggest making an effort to not touch surfaces with your hands or frontal areas of your body you tend to touch with your hands, and certainly avoid touching your face (one of the benefits of a mask is it makes it more of thought-out exercise to touch ones face, making it easier to avoid doing so). Once you get back to your own home, I suggest you remove your outside clothing, wash your hands thoroughly, and then put on an indoor-only robe or such outfit- unless you are like me and have no problem walking about your house in your undergarments. Sitting on an outside bench, for instance, provides a very mild risk if you don't touch it with your hands and then touch your face- a more substantial one if you do- and keep in mind that many of you probably use your hands to help yourself up when you stand.

I also suggest, especially for people in that last category, a cane or walking stick. I walk with a cane (I need one), and they provide many functions people don't think about. You can touch a handicap-access pad to open a door with the tip of a cane. You can push all kinds of buttons with the tip of a cane, actually. You push open a push-door with a cane. You can use the shaft of a cane to open many pull doors by inserting it into the pull handle and pulling on the upper part of the shaft. You can use it to help measure appropriate social distance- two cane-lengths is about six feet for the average person. You can use it to rest on instead of a public object that could be contaminated. And you can use it to help lever yourself up from a seat without touching anything else.

If I were you, however, I would stop worrying about shared air-ducting. Air-conditioners blow air through the system creating positive air pressure, which means that it blows air into the rooms it serves, but that duct does NOT pull air out, so air from room A is not going to be delivered to room B from it. It could potentially move air between the rooms when the entire system is off, but that will be at such slow speeds and rates, you might as well be outside, and the travel distance between you and the next room via those air ducts is going to be quite a distance- 15-20 feet minimum.

There is such a thing as an air-return duct, though not all systems use them, but those things utilize negative air pressure to pull air out of all room and take it to the cooling system- but those, when functioning, will be pulling air out only. They can pose air transfer between rooms when off, but again, the travel distance of the air from the mouth of person A, to the return duct, through the ducting, to the next rooms return duct, and then from that return duct to person B's mouth is going to be quite long. Think of how far you are from the duct, realize that on average the next person is going to be that far from the duct, and that the distance between ducts will also be large.

As for processing THROUGH an air-conditioning system, air conditioning cools air primarily through evaporative cooling- it removes moisture from the air- that's why the units drip. The air being moved out of an A/C unit is not going to be suitable for supporting a living virus.

People either tend to disregard their safety entirely, or tend to be fearful of things they don't need to be fearful of. The virus is real and dangerous- but a lot of the things people fear are not part of the actual problem. It would be fairly accurate to say that if you aren't touching a contaminated surface, and you can not see a person, they are generally providing you no present danger. Breathed upon food is generally not particularly dangerous either, as the gastro-intestinal tract is probably the most hostile-to-virus parts of your body (bacteria is another matter), although it is better to avoid such if you can.

How does this square with the phenomenon eventually known as Legionnaire's Disease? It was determined that it was caused by a new bacteria spread through the Bellevue Hotel's HVAC system in Philadelphia.

 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,604
You know, I have heard this a lot and accepted it without questioning it, but why would cloth masks protect others, but not protect you from other's respiratory droplets? Why would it work just one way? I'm thinking there is some protection afforded to the wearer of the cloth mask as well.
I think it slows down the trajectory of our breaths so they're less likely to reach others??
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,621
How does this square with the phenomenon eventually known as Legionnaire's Disease? It was determined that it was caused by a new bacteria spread through the Bellevue Hotel's HVAC system in Philadelphia.

One significant difference between bacteria and virus is that outside a host viruses just keep dying (becoming non viable, dying may be a wrong terms sinc they are never really alive in the first place) exponentially, until they are gone. Bacteria on the other hand don't necessarly die for just being outside a host, but under certain circumstances like poorly maintained air ducts of an HVAC system, they can even form colonies and grow in the moist cool environment and then launch themselves into the air stream.

I don't remember the specifics of the Legionnaire's Disease, but just thought I'd mention this fundamental difference between bacteria and viruses.

Another aside regarding virus found on surfaces, what has been found is segments of virus RNA which is what the typical PCR test can detect. Whether said RNA is from a viable virus that can actually infect someone, or is just floating around from a non viable virus is not something that is tested for typically. There are a few publications that have done so and typically vaiable viruses are not around for the days and weeks that some oether papers talk about. Afterall it is important to get the damn paper published as fast as one can instead of doing the much much heavier footwork needed to try to infect something with the stuff from the surface and see what happens. ;)
 
Last edited:

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,786
A lot depends on the attendant... they range from amazing to offensively poor.
My experience is that most of them provide satisfactory service most of the time. I' don't even remember any who were really bad, like the example of the guy who sat in his room the whole trip. Of course, my needs are modest, mostly setting up my bed when I want in the evening and making up the room while I'm eating breakfast in the morning. Taking my luggage to the door at my destination is nice, but a lot of times, I'll do it myself rather than lose sight of my bag. Also, being available to deal with medical or quasi-medical emergencies would be helpful, as happened with a couple in the room across the hall from me on my last trip. The SCA was up hanging out in the dining car, but when I told her what was happening, she got right up and went to see these people, and then contacted the conductor. I'm curious, though, what kind of first aid training do Amtrak crew have?
 

Green Maned Lion

Conductor
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,109
How does this square with the phenomenon eventually known as Legionnaire's Disease? It was determined that it was caused by a new bacteria spread through the Bellevue Hotel's HVAC system in Philadelphia.

Just to expand on Jishnu... it squares like a circle, because its an apple to an orange. A virus and a bacteria are totally different things. A virus needs a host in order to reproduce; a bacteria is not strictly a parasite- they can live in the human body, they can live outside the human body. Ductwork can be a hive for bacteria. They can reproduce within it. The virus can only reproduce within a cell that can be used to replicate it.

The advice I am giving, utilizing my medical degree from the UBS (University of... well, you get the idea), is based around Covid-19. The ductwork of hotels being a hive for all kinds of potential nastiness (not just bacteria, but mold, fungus, insects, cockroaches, spiders, and so on) is true whether we are inside this pandemic or not. By the way, I tend to suspect, if you live in a house with the scourge known as a forced-air ventilation system, your ducting is just as bad, if not worse.
 

capltd29

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
332
How does this square with the phenomenon eventually known as Legionnaire's Disease? It was determined that it was caused by a new bacteria spread through the Bellevue Hotel's HVAC system in Philadelphia.

Legionella is a bit different in that it thrives in standing water and can multiply in an HVAC system, where viral particles by definition can only multiply in a host (a person). Each bacterial organism has different life cycle and how it can infect people. TB can be transmitted by respiratory droplets and by airborne transmission, for example, but most respiratory bacteria aren't easily transmitted from person to person (legionella).

From what I can tell people tend to approach this in two formats- uninformed and overly cautious, or uninformed and overly reckless.

I would suggest making an effort to not touch surfaces with your hands or frontal areas of your body you tend to touch with your hands, and certainly avoid touching your face (one of the benefits of a mask is it makes it more of thought-out exercise to touch ones face, making it easier to avoid doing so). Once you get back to your own home, I suggest you remove your outside clothing, wash your hands thoroughly, and then put on an indoor-only robe or such outfit- unless you are like me and have no problem walking about your house in your undergarments. Sitting on an outside bench, for instance, provides a very mild risk if you don't touch it with your hands and then touch your face- a more substantial one if you do- and keep in mind that many of you probably use your hands to help yourself up when you stand.

I also suggest, especially for people in that last category, a cane or walking stick. I walk with a cane (I need one), and they provide many functions people don't think about. You can touch a handicap-access pad to open a door with the tip of a cane. You can push all kinds of buttons with the tip of a cane, actually. You push open a push-door with a cane. You can use the shaft of a cane to open many pull doors by inserting it into the pull handle and pulling on the upper part of the shaft. You can use it to help measure appropriate social distance- two cane-lengths is about six feet for the average person. You can use it to rest on instead of a public object that could be contaminated. And you can use it to help lever yourself up from a seat without touching anything else.

If I were you, however, I would stop worrying about shared air-ducting. Air-conditioners blow air through the system creating positive air pressure, which means that it blows air into the rooms it serves, but that duct does NOT pull air out, so air from room A is not going to be delivered to room B from it. It could potentially move air between the rooms when the entire system is off, but that will be at such slow speeds and rates, you might as well be outside, and the travel distance between you and the next room via those air ducts is going to be quite a distance- 15-20 feet minimum.

There is such a thing as an air-return duct, though not all systems use them, but those things utilize negative air pressure to pull air out of all room and take it to the cooling system- but those, when functioning, will be pulling air out only. They can pose air transfer between rooms when off, but again, the travel distance of the air from the mouth of person A, to the return duct, through the ducting, to the next rooms return duct, and then from that return duct to person B's mouth is going to be quite long. Think of how far you are from the duct, realize that on average the next person is going to be that far from the duct, and that the distance between ducts will also be large.

As for processing THROUGH an air-conditioning system, air conditioning cools air primarily through evaporative cooling- it removes moisture from the air- that's why the units drip. The air being moved out of an A/C unit is not going to be suitable for supporting a living virus.

People either tend to disregard their safety entirely, or tend to be fearful of things they don't need to be fearful of. The virus is real and dangerous- but a lot of the things people fear are not part of the actual problem. It would be fairly accurate to say that if you aren't touching a contaminated surface, and you can not see a person, they are generally providing you no present danger. Breathed upon food is generally not particularly dangerous either, as the gastro-intestinal tract is probably the most hostile-to-virus parts of your body (bacteria is another matter), although it is better to avoid such if you can.
I agree with the classification of different people and their level of knowledge and concern. I try to be reasonable. I don't change my clothes after going out into the community but I do clean my hands. When I leave work, I try to change into street clothes before leaving the hospital. If I don't do that, I take my clothes off in the garage and place them directly into the laundry and take a shower. I am sure its possible for it to be transmitted through a ventilation system, but it has to be near the bottom of transmission risk, especially when you consider the low passenger counts on the train and presuming people who are sick and coughing frequently aren't traveling on the train. I've had a few close contacts with people with COVID at work, without any typical respiratory symptoms, but I tested them later in their course for hospital admission (so I didn't have full PPE on initially), and I haven't (to my knowledge) acquired it.
 

Chatter163

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 26, 2002
Messages
591
I'm wondering, I saw a TV clip of V P. Pence in a crowded restaurant, no masks worn by anyone and he serving himself a drink from a public soda dispenser. I myself don't approve, anyone have a understanding of this behavior.
Ok, so you don’t approve. So what else? Let’s return to discussing Amtrak, shall we?
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,021
I just called my daughter on the phone and sang Happy Birthday to her. Is that an example of phonation? And under such circumstances, would I then be considered a 'phony' although I try to be sincere? All this is getting very confusing for me.
No. Phonation started when non-traditional phone service suppliers (e.g. MagicJack, Comcast, Ooma) started offering unlimited calls throughout the country for a fixed price and everyone started calling everyone wherever they lived that they never called before just so they could take advantage of the free calls and thumb their noses at AT&T, Verizon, etc and their overpriced services. Phonation became really popular in the era of cell phones when everyone went to unlimited calling as people could not only call everyone in the country that they barely knew but could do it no matter where they were and even if the "callee" was sitting next to them.

Hey, it's as good as any other explanation! :)
 

gwolfdog

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
51
You know, I have heard this a lot and accepted it without questioning it, but why would cloth masks protect others, but not protect you from other's respiratory droplets? Why would it work just one way? I'm thinking there is some protection afforded to the wearer of the cloth mask as well.
Wearing a mask is like when we wore Flak Jackets on certain patrols in Vietnam. We knew that it was minimal protection but it could also save our lives. Even if it's only the Placebo affect, some research debunks its value and etc. etc. I'm wearing mine. I can't control your behavior or values. JMHO
 
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