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Coronavirus: The Best Health Advice We've Found, and Our Present Plans

We have been closely monitoring the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak since January.  We are currently following recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and New York Department of Health (NYH).  Guidelines from all four agencies indicate that it is safe and reasonable to remain open for business. And so we will, until further notice.

The Meadow is taking detailed precautions to protect our customers and employees, including service, sanitation, and policies. For a complete list of measures, please click here to read our internal letter to employees. 

As a company we have no expertise on infection disease, but an expert researcher, compassionate business owner, parent, and engaged member in my communities, I have a keen interest in sharing information to further the public good. Below are a the handful of instances where we believe credible experts are offering sound, actionable advice on how to take care of yourself and your loved-ones.  

Stanford Hospital Board Internal Message

March 12

Mark’s Key take-aways:

    • the Stanford message quotes extensively from Dr. James Robb's groundbreaking letter, which follows the Stanford message, below.
    • instead of drinking 4 glasses of water 4 times/day (or whatever), sip your water all the time every 15 min.
    • perform a breathing exercise to self-assess lung health

The new Coronavirus may not show sign of infection for many days. How can one know if someone is infected? By the time they have fever and/or cough and go to the hospital, the lung is usually 50% Fibrosis and it's too late. Taiwan experts provide a simple self-check that we can do every morning. Take a deep breath and hold your breath for more than 10 seconds. If you complete it successfully without coughing, without discomfort, stiffness or tightness, etc., it proves there is no Fibrosis in the lungs, basically indicates no infection. In critical time, please self-check every morning in an environment with clean air. Serious excellent advice by Japanese doctors treating COVID-19 cases: Everyone should ensure your mouth & throat are moist, never dry. Take a few sips of water every 15 minutes at least. Why? Even if the virus gets into your mouth, drinking water or other liquids will wash them down through your throat and into the stomach. Once there, your stomach acid will kill all the virus. If you don't drink enough water more regularly, the virus can enter your windpipe and into the lungs. That's very dangerous. Please send and share this with family and friends. Take care everyone and may the world recover from this Coronavirus soon.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT - CORONAVIRUS

  1. If you have a runny nose and sputum, you have a common cold
  2. Coronavirus pneumonia is a dry cough with no runny nose.
  3. This new virus is not heat-resistant and will be killed by a temperature of just 26/27 degrees. It hates the Sun.
  4. If someone sneezes with it, it takes about 10 feet before it drops to the ground and is no longer airborne.
  5. If it drops on a metal surface it will live for at least 12 hours - so if you come into contact with any metal surface - wash your hands as soon as you can with a bacterial soap.
  6. On fabric it can survive for 6-12 hours. normal laundry detergent will kill it.
  7. Drinking warm water is effective for all viruses. Try not to drink liquids with ice.
  8. Wash your hands frequently as the virus can only live on your hands for 5-10 minutes, but - a lot can happen during that time - you can rub your eyes, pick your nose unwittingly and so on.
  9. You should also gargle as a prevention. A simple solution of salt in warm water will suffice.
  10. Can't emphasis enough - drink plenty of water!

THE SYMPTOMS

  1. It will first infect the throat, so you'll have a sore throat lasting 3/4 days
  2. The virus then blends into a nasal fluid that enters the trachea and then the lungs, causing pneumonia. This takes about 5/6 days further.
  3. With the pneumonia comes high fever and difficulty in breathing.
  4. The nasal congestion is not like the normal kind. You feel like you're drowning. It's imperative you then seek immediate attention.


What I am doing for the upcoming COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

James Robb, MD FCAP**

Feb 26, 2020

MARK BITTERMAN’S KEY TAKE-AWAYS

    • You can tell the difference between the common cold and COVID-19, and here’s how.
    • Best advice available on what to do to avoid getting the virus.
  1. If you have a runny nose and sputum, you have a common cold 
  2. Coronavirus pneumonia is a dry cough with no runny nose.
  3. This new virus is not heat-resistant and will be killed by a temperature of just 26/27C (78-80F) degrees. It hates the sun.
  4. If someone sneezes with it, it takes about 10 feet before it drops to the ground and is no longer airborne.
  5. If it drops on a metal surface it will live for at least 12 hours - so if you come into contact with any metal surface - wash your hands as soon as you can with a bacterial soap.
  6. On fabric it can survive for 6-12 hours. Normal laundry detergent will kill it.
  7. Drinking warm water is effective for all viruses. Try not to drink liquids with ice.
  8. Wash your hands frequently as the virus can only live on your hands for 5-10 minutes, but - a lot can happen during that time - you can rub your eyes, pick your nose unwittingly and so on.
  9. You should also gargle as a prevention. A simple solution of salt in warm water will suffice.
  10. Can't emphasize enough - drink plenty of water!

THE SYMPTOMS 

  1. It will first infect the throat, so you'll have a sore throat lasting 3/4 days
  2. The virus then blends into a nasal fluid that enters the trachea and then the lungs, causing pneumonia. This takes about 5/6 days further.
  3. With the pneumonia comes high fever and difficulty in breathing.
  4. The nasal congestion is not like the normal kind. You feel like you're drowning. It's imperative you then seek immediate attention.

AND:

As some of you may recall, when I was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, I was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s). I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained. Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population (e.g., SARS, MERS), from different animal sources. 

The current projections for its expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April.

Here is what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. 

These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves:

  1. NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.
  2. Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
  3. Open doors with your closed fist or hip - do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. 
  4. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.
  5. Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
  6. Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.
  7. Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home's entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can't immediately wash your hands.
  8. If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. 
  9. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!

What I have stocked in preparation for the pandemic spread to the US:

[MB note: Do not stockpile. Latex gloves are essential for health care workers. Dishwashing gloves can be washed with soap and water or disinfected with a bleach solution (the proper mix: 1/3 cup bleach per 1 gallon of water OR 2 tablespoons bleach per 1 quart water). Leave gloves to the people who we will rely on to treat our sick!] Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas.

Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. 

This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average - everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon.

This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your

lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.

2) [MB note: Do not stockpile masks. A cloth or handkerchief over the face will do nearly the same thing for the reasons described below. Leave masks to the people who we will rely on to treat our sick!] Stock up now with disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you - it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth - it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.

3) [MB note: Do not stockpile.  According to the CDC, hand washing, washing surfaces, etc) works better than disinfectant wipes.  Leave wipes to the first responders and others who we will rely on to address public emergencies!] Stock up now with hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.

4) [MB note: Do not stockpile. Also, Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical experts advise against, or urge caution when it comes to zinc.] Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY "cold-like" symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available.

I, as many others do, hope that this pandemic will be reasonably contained, BUT I personally do not think it will be. Humans have never seen this snake-associated virus before and have no internal defense against it.

Tremendous worldwide efforts are being made to understand the molecular and clinical virology of this virus. Unbelievable molecular knowledge about the genomics, structure, and virulence of this virus has already been achieved. BUT, there will be NO drugs or vaccines available this year to protect us or limit the infection within us. Only symptomatic support is available.

I hope these personal thoughts will be helpful during this potentially catastrophic pandemic. You are welcome to share.

Good luck to all of us! James Robb, MD FCAP

* Dr. Robb has a degree in theoretical physics, got his MD at University of Colorado Medical School, did a residency in pathology and training in molecular biology at Yale, and then worked at National Institutes of Health. Other experience includes a professorship at UC San Diego, work with the National Cancer Institute, and Cedars Medical Center in Miami, where he was director of anatomic and molecular pathology. Board certifications include anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, cytopathology, and dermatopathology. In the 1970s Dr. Robb published some of the earliest descriptions of coronaviruses.

 

The Meadow Owner Mark Bitterman’s Letter to Staff

[The information below should be viewed in light of the letters above, which supersede and outweigh my own thoughts] 

Mar 4, 2020

Hi Fellow Meadowlings. 

Safeguarding your well-being, and the well-being of our customers is my most essential responsibility. I want everyone at The Meadow to feel safe, confident, and empowered to look after themselves and after the customers we serve for our livelihoods. I take all health-related matters very seriously, and the current outbreak of COVID-19 around the world is no different.  

I want you to both be safe and feel safe. I want our customers to both be safe and feel safe.  We may choose to close our doors for a period of time, as much out of civic duty as out of risks to our staff and customers.  Until then, I believe it is just as important as always to provide a welcoming place within our community, and we will remain open unless future developments suggest that we are putting either you or our customers at risk. 

Please read this entire letter thoroughly.  

KEEPING YOU AND CUSTOMERS SAFE  

Person-to-person spread is thought to be by far the most common way to get the illness. Another way to get the virus is through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The three ways to protect yourself and others: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
    • Wash your hands at least one time per hour.  This is probably overkill but handwashing is the number one best thing you can do.
    • In addition to washing your hands after you go to the bathroom, wash your hands before as well.
    • Wash your hands before going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
  • Avoid touching your face. Especially avoid touching your eyes, lips and nose. 
    • Since face-touching is normal and extremely frequent for most people, try holding an object such as a pen in your hands whenever possible so that you are reminded of what your hands are doing. 
    • Another good trick is to use a fragrance-heavy hand lotion so that you smell your hands when they come near your face. 
  • Practice “social distancing.” This means keeping a respectful distance from others.  We can and should do this, gracefully and easily enough.  
    • Avoid touching customer’s products at the check-out counter. Place a stack of paper bags, sandwich slips, and washy tape on the counter and kindly invite customers to serve themselves with the bag.
    • Put truffle salted popcorn samples (and any other samples) in little Paper .75 oz. Compostable Souffle Portion Cups available at Smart Foodservice Warehouse or Webrestaurant Store.
    • The CDC recommends that if you notice anyone with flu-like symptoms (coughing, sneezing, runny nose), keep at least six feet away from them. This sounds funny, but you can use your abundant emotional intelligence to let the customer you are doing this while making it as un-awkward as possible. Explain that you want to make sure to keep all customers and staff safe, so you’re following the advice of the World Health Organization and keeping a respectful distance from anyone with cold-like symptoms.  
  • Getting sick: If you develop cold- or flu-like symptoms, contact your manager and do not come in to work.  
  • Guidance on what to do if you are sick is available at the CDC here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html
  • If you or someone you come into contact with is exhibiting cold- or flu-like symptoms. Don’t panic.  At present, it is far more likely that flu-like symptoms are caused by a common cold or flu than by the coronavirus. (It’s still flu season!) The practices outlined above are serious-minded, effective, and also stress relieving precautions that we take out of respect for our professional environment.  

KEEPING THE SHOP AND CUSTOMERS SAFE

According to the CDC, “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” It is out of an abundance of caution that we are taking the following precautions to ensure our shops and our interactions are hygienic. 

  • Wash all metal surfaces that come into human contact or food contact with either a bleach-based disinfectant solution or a vinegar-based disinfectant solution. Both are proven disinfectants for virus like COVID-19 and their use is prescribed by health authorities.  
    • The proper mix: 1/3 cup bleach per 1 gallon of water OR 2 tablespoons bleach per 1 quart water.
  • Wash all wood and other natural surfaces with dish soap and water, or a distilled white vinegar and water.  This will not kill all germs, but it will dramatically reduce the number of germs and incapacitate or kill much of what remains. 
    • The proper mix: 50/50 mixture of water and distilled vinegar
  • Disinfect the Point of Sale system (iPad) with disinfectant wipes if you have them. If you do not have them, dampen a soft cloth with a blend of water alcohol and wipe down the iPad at least twice per day.  
    • The proper mix: 4 parts of isopropyl alcohol to 6 parts water. 
  • If you develop cold- or flu-like symptoms, contact your manager and do not come in to work.

Travel: There are currently no travel restrictions within the USA. There are some restrictions between the USA and Japan. You will not be asked to undertake any travel until further notice. In the interest of maintaining the safety of our entire team, please speak with your manager before undertaking any travel. If you do travel, please follow WHO travel advice: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/travel-advice 

Scams: There are scammers out there! Believe it or not, there are reports of phishing from criminals looking to take advantage of a public scare.  DO NOT RESPOND TO ANY THIRD PARTY CONTACT.  Bring any and all communications from third parties to Mark’s or Kaitlin’s attention. In addition, if you receive a request to take any out of the ordinary action from Mark or Kaitlin, verify our identities by phone before taking action. 

With love and respect for all of you,

Mark
Owner
The Meadow & Bitterman Salt Co.