Special Coronavirus Edition

It's a great time to stay home

So, the world’s changed since the last edition of this newsletter. I hope you and your loved ones are all healthy and safe.

The response here in the U.S. has been a debacle and the consequences are likely to be dire. The outbreak has laid a lot of things bare, including the shortcomings of our federal government, the holes in our public health policies, and the failures of our social safety net (to the extent that we even have one).

It’s also highlighted, in the worst possible way, the connection between the built environment and human health. Pathogens can be carried through indoor HVAC systems and can survive on some surfaces for days. Buildings can serve as an infrastructure that helps the virus spread — or, if we take the right steps, an infrastructure that helps us combat it.

What Can We Do?

A lot! For starters: Wash. Your. Damn. Hands. Stay at home as much as you can and keep your distance from other people. But you have (I hope!) heard all this before. I’m not a doctor or epidemiologist, but I do know a few things about infectious disease and the built environment. And there are changes we can make to our indoor environments that can help us curb the spread of Covid-19.

I outlined some of those strategies in a story for The Washington Post. As I wrote:

One irony of an infectious-disease outbreak is that it turns hospitals, which should be a refuge for the sick, into hot zones, putting everyone inside at risk. But a silent culprit tends to be overlooked. It is not the patients or the staff or the visitors. It is the building itself. Thoughtful modifications to the built environment — to how health-care facilities are designed, operated and maintained — could help curb the spread of infectious disease, reducing the toll of future outbreaks as well as the covid-19 pandemic raging today.

For more, click through to the full story.

Even if you don’t run a hospital (and I assume most of you do not), some of the same lessons apply to other buildings as well, including our homes. In addition to keeping your home clean the CDC has some useful guidelines you might want to consider some of the other strategies I outline in the story. (Please note: I am not a doctor. This is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your own health or a medical condition.)

  • Crack a window: Bringing in more outdoor air, which likely has a low viral load, can dilute the concentration of pathogens in indoor air.

  • Let the sun shine in: There’s some evidence that sunlight can inactivate some microbes. Though we don’t know if that’s true of this new virus, letting more daylight into your home is unlikely to hurt (and has myriad other benefits, including boosting mood and improving sleep).

  • Turn on a humidifier: Studies suggest that coronaviruses are less likely to survive, and spread through the air, when the air is relatively humid. Again, we don’t know if that is true of this specific virus, but bumping up the humidity, if you can, might be something to think about. (Super high humidity can encourage mold growth, however, so experts suggest trying to maintain indoor air at somewhere between 40 and 60 percent humidity.)

  • If you’ve been lucky enough to snag hand sanitizer, keep it — and any other cleaning supplies you may be using — somewhere highly visible and accessible, where you’re likely to see it, and use it, often.

Joseph Allen, who directs the Healthy Buildings program at Harvard, also has a helpful piece on Covid-19 and the built environment. The Center for Active Design, in New York, has also outlined some ways we can modify our buildings to slow the spread of the disease.

Indoor Ephemera: Coronavirus Edition

Bonus Interspecies Animal Content

We need it now more than ever.

Snapshot - like the very first moment, Ingo and Poldi met each other 😃
Found it on my phone - we have a small rest now here in Belarus.
Then we start walking in this beautiful landscape here.
I so love it and there‘s also owls here 😊❤️
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#animal #animals #animalphotograpy #companions #tierfotografie #followme #owl #owllove #ourplanetdaily #friendship #dog #dogs #instragram #birds #funny #NikonDach #friends #owlsofinsta #master_shots #big_shotz #eizo #sirui #nikon #nikonphotography #nikondeutschland
February 15, 2020
After midnight - post 😊
Stop - this is my friend .....🦉 🐕 ❤️
I was in search for a picture I need and that ends up in finding so many pictures that are not edited or that have been "forgotten" and Zack', I directly reminisce 🙈😃❤️
I still remember every experience we had 😍
Most of them were embarrassing and there was a lot to laugh about 🙈😂😂
But this year there will be a lot of experiences again.
We are looking forward 😊
But now my experience is, to go to bed 🙈😊💤
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#animal #animals #animalphotograpy #nature #companions #tierfotografie #owl #followme #bird #birds #ourplanetdaily #owls #owlsofinsta #instragram #friends #dog #dogs #dogsofinsta #doglovers #NikonDach #master_shots #big_shotz #love #friendship #bestbirdshots #eizo #sirui #nikon #nikonphotography #nikondeutschland
January 24, 2020

Stay safe out there,


The Great Indoors will be out in June! But you can pre-order it now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Powells, or your local independent bookstore.

You can read more of my work at my website and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. (You can follow me on Facebook, too, I suppose, but I rarely post there.)