Poll

Under what circumstances is it OK to go caving now?

Not at all.
With members of your household and trips are well within own ability.
So long as social distancing is respected and trips are well within own ability.
So long as social distancing is respected.
Any time, anywhere.

Author Topic: Is it OK to go caving?  (Read 6281 times)

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2020, 05:55:52 pm »
Legally I'm pretty sure you can do what you wish.

Offline zzzzzzed

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2020, 06:11:59 pm »
I had a 'mild' case of swine-flu in 2009 and I felt absolutely shocking, I ended up passed out on the floor in the hall where my mum later found me later in a puddle of sweat.

I had swine flu around the same time and I could perfectly understand how it could kill people who were less healthy.

However the BMJ says that 80% of Covid-19 sufferers have no symptoms at all:
https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1375?=&utm_source=adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=usage&utm_content=daily&utm_term=text

In Iceland where a significant proportion of the poulation has been tested 50% had no symtoms
https://futurism.com/neoscope/half-coronavirus-carriers-no-symptoms


Offline pwhole

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2020, 06:17:26 pm »
This is a very interesting one on the 1 in 20 sufferers who don't get better in 14 days:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/15/weird-hell-professor-advent-calendar-covid-19-symptoms-paul-garner

Quote
There is growing evidence that the virus causes a far greater array of symptoms than was previously understood. And that its effects can be agonisingly prolonged: in Garner’s case for more than seven weeks. The professor at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine says his experience of Covid-19 featured a new and disturbing symptom every day, akin to an “advent calendar”.

He had a muggy head, upset stomach, tinnitus, pins and needles, breathlessness, dizziness and arthritis in the hands. Each time Garner thought he was getting better the illness roared back. It was a sort of virus snakes and ladders. “It’s deeply frustrating. A lot of people start doubting themselves,” he says. “Their partners wonder if there is something psychologically wrong with them.”

Offline mikem

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2020, 07:28:04 pm »
Legally I'm pretty sure you can do what you wish.
Except meet up with more than one person from outside your household, & it doesn't give you right to enter private land - where many caves are located (in reality pretty much every cave, as they aren't currently covered by CRoW)...

Offline Alex

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2020, 07:33:35 pm »
So currently 27 go caving in some way and 15 don't go caving.
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline Stuart Anderson

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2020, 07:46:26 pm »

Risk of burdening a stretched NHS
Since the NHS has cancelled all routine operations, there is probably no better time to go to A&E (not that I'd advise it for leisure).


Wife wants me to inform you that a visit to Sheffield A&E might not be the best idea right now. It's pretty full. Lot of people let loose this week and some of them haven't been that sensible.

Oh, and rates of asymptomatic infection is much higher amongst the NHS population than the general population (wife's on her own next week). Not all have been tested...

Cave if you want to. Don't kid yourself you're no less of a burden than any other time.
I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

Offline mikem

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2020, 07:48:23 pm »
So currently 27 go caving in some way and 15 don't go caving.
But there are 4 cave options & only 1 not...

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2020, 08:02:18 pm »
So currently 27 go caving in some way and 15 don't go caving.
But there are 4 cave options & only 1 not...
Can you think of 4 different ways to not go caving?
The distance between stupidity and genius is measured only by success.

Offline mikem

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2020, 08:13:43 pm »
Not now, not later, never again, not tell anyone I'm going  :shrug:

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #34 on: May 15, 2020, 08:14:29 pm »

Risk of burdening a stretched NHS
Since the NHS has cancelled all routine operations, there is probably no better time to go to A&E (not that I'd advise it for leisure).


Wife wants me to inform you that a visit to Sheffield A&E might not be the best idea right now. It's pretty full. Lot of people let loose this week and some of them haven't been that sensible.

Oh, and rates of asymptomatic infection is much higher amongst the NHS population than the general population (wife's on her own next week). Not all have been tested...

Cave if you want to. Don't kid yourself you're no less of a burden than any other time.
Fair enough. Musgrove Park in Taunton has been empty recently by all accounts.

I guess the real point is that even if everyone was caving at usual levels, the number of hospital admissions from caving are statistically so small they make no difference to the NHS. If fewer people are caving (as some are vulnerable, live with someone vulnerable, self isolating or otherwise unable to travel) and those who are, cave less frequently and stick to easier trips, the potential impact on the NHS is basically zero. You're much more likely to have an accident out on a bike, while the few cars on the road are driving like tits because the roads are quiet. The impact of cycling accidents on the NHS is probably measurable at the moment, but we are being actively encouraged to go out cycling.
The distance between stupidity and genius is measured only by success.

Offline mikem

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #35 on: May 15, 2020, 08:41:58 pm »
Yes, cycling accidents have increased during lockdown, despite less other traffic being on the road.

The biggest anti caving factor is the opinion of people in the area you are hoping to visit. Some are already not keen (as demonstrated in the Portland post) & others will be very put out by any rescue (they don't care about probabilities).

Offline pwhole

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #36 on: May 15, 2020, 08:42:24 pm »
This is what's been going on lately in the less leafy corners of Sheffield - all that's missing is the banjo music soundtrack :wall:

https://metro.co.uk/2020/05/13/moment-50-neighbours-crowd-round-watch-fight-erupt-street-12698400/

Let's see how the 'Freedom Party in the Parks' progresses tomorrow. One is in a 'posh park', normally frequented by joggers and yummies, so it could get interesting . The other is normally deserted, which is why I tend to go there - not tomorrow.

Offline mikem

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #37 on: May 15, 2020, 08:44:33 pm »
Scared people don't act rationally & those who know they are in the wrong are more likely to be aggressive...

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #38 on: May 15, 2020, 10:52:37 pm »
Legally I'm pretty sure you can do what you wish.
Except meet up with more than one person from outside your household, & it doesn't give you right to enter private land - where many caves are located (in reality pretty much every cave, as they aren't currently covered by CRoW)...

First part, no, second part, yes. What you used to be allowed to do, you still are. Rules are not laws.

Offline tim.rose2

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #39 on: May 15, 2020, 11:05:48 pm »
I've no intention of giving my opinion with respects to the should / shouldn't we cave debate, however I thought I would make some comments regarding containment and contamination as that might inform others trying to decide.  Without going into details, I work with very hazardous materials and hence spend a lot of time dealing with containment & contamination issues.

First thing to note, it is more or less impossible to 100 % contain anything and hence any containment strategy and subsequent contamination is dealt with as a risk based approach.  Secondly, meeting high levels of containment and hence very low contamination is a highly skilled activity which the general public are not competent to achieve.  So please don't kid yourselves into thinking the risk is zero if I do xxx.

In the case of COVID19, the hazard is basically the virus contained in droplets of bodily fluids (typically saliva).  I'm no virologist so not prepared to comment on whether blood, urine etc. are also a hazard in this case.  Is there anyone else on here who can?

The risk is defined as a combination of the severity of the hazard and the likelihood of it being realised.  A containment strategy looks to reduce both.

1. The severity can be reduced by all the good things scientists around the world are working on (vaccinations, cures / treatments) and those being conducted in hospitals presently (having sufficient beds, ventilators, oxygen, trained staff, etc.).  Unfortunately there is little the general public can do to help with this one (other than perhaps not unnecessarily take up hospital beds).

2. Reducing the likelihood of coming into contact with contaminated bodily fluids is where we can help...

The first thing to look at is how we could come into contact with the virus:
1. Absorption having touching a contaminated droplet.  Fortunately our skin is an amazing barrier and hence absorption through it can be ruled out in this instance. 
2. Inhalation - breathing in an aerosol of contaminated droplets.  This is the issue with being in confined spaces (e.g. trains / buses) when an infected person coughs.  You share the air they expel.  The higher the density of people in a given area the greater the likelihood of exposure via this route.
3. Subcutaneous - injecting the virus / it entering the body via an open wound.  Well I hope we're not injecting this virus and I hope our caves do not contain contaminated needles, however cuts and grazes down a hole can occur.  This cannot be entirely ruled out as it's possible (albeit remote in my opinion) that you could cut yourself on a sharp rock that was also contaminated with the virus and hence it enter the body through this route.
4. Ingestion - again with any luck we're not going around licking up other peoples bodily fluids (or at least not down caves), however this is an issue with regards to secondary transfer.  This is the issue of touching a contaminated surface and then licking your fingers / picking your nose / eating your sandwiches.

So as cavers we need to think about 2,3&4.

The first and most effective thing we can do as individuals is reduce other peoples likelihood of coming into contact with contaminated surfaces or air by isolating in our own homes if we are infectious.  There is the obvious problem here that many people are infectious whilst asymptomatic and currently testing on demand before we leave home is not possible.  Numerous unusual symptoms are being reported worldwide including things like loss of taste / smell and hence for recreational activities perhaps we should be considering staying home if we've got any unexplained ailments beyond those listed in the current government advice?  Obviously due to the asymptomatic issue, isolating those with the virus is not as effective as we might like and hence those who are not infected or do not think they are infected also need to help.  In terms of caving, as a starting point, if we resist from dribbling, spitting, coughing, sneezing, taking a pee etc. we are reducing the likelihood of contaminating the environment around us which we are sharing with others.

Getting back to routes of exposure...
First consider inhalation.  This is complex.  Some caves have airflow, some are static, some humid, others dry.  Most containment strategies in the workplace involve controlling air flows and hence you could argue the person at the drafting dig face is significantly safer than those behind.  In all reality, the best thing we can do without studying and controlling the factors above is not cough / sneeze on each other and generally keep a distance such that we are not breathing what others exhale.  Obviously any decision whether to cave or not needs to consider whether this is possible.  Personally I can think of caves it is and others it is not.

Second, the subcutaneous issue.  This is easy.  Clothing provides a good barrier to getting cuts / grazes and as cavers we're typically covered in it.  Gloves is the obvious addition which some cavers don't use to protect the hands.  Beyond that we're all used to the 'cover & clean any open cuts and grazes with respect to advice relating to weil's disease.  That also applies in this instance.

Finally ingestion.  I'll start with lets not lick the formations somebody's spat on.  More seriously, as cavers we're probably some of the best members of the general public to prevent the secondary transfer discussed in point 4 above.  Typically we do not touch our faces, put fingers in mouths, eyes, etc. as our hands are covered in mud / grit and at heart were a vain bunch really and don't like dirty faces.  Assuming we're wearing gloves, as cavers we're pretty good at removing these before doing any of the above should we need to.  If we wear gloves when touching potentially contaminated surfaces (i.e. what somebody else has breathed / coughed on) and then remove them in such a way to keep our hands clean before touching our faces, eating etc. then we're actually demonstrating really good practice.  Best thing we can do is remember do not get mud in your mouths, up your noses, in your eyes.  It probably goes without saying, sharing drinks, chocolate etc. would be stupid.  We know washing hands is the most effective way of removing the virus by the mechanical action of flowing water.  This would apply to surfaces as well so any being washed by running water would clean quicker than those that are dry and hence reduce the likelihood of being contaminated quicker.  Finally after caving washing hands before eating etc. as per government advice makes perfect sense.  With clubs closed this is harder, but a bottle of water, towel & some soap in the car this is easily dealt with.

I'm not going to consider the longevity of the virus outside of a host as although differing surfaces and conditions are known to effect this, the reported time frames seem to be hours to a few days and hence for the duration of a normal caving trip (hours) we must consider surfaces remain contaminated. 

Apologies for the long posting - hopefully it was worth my time writing it out.







Offline pwhole

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #40 on: May 15, 2020, 11:16:06 pm »
Yes it was worth it, but then I like long posts - thanks ;)

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #41 on: May 15, 2020, 11:52:36 pm »
Thanks very much for this Tim.

A very interesting and well considered post, worthy of an article in a club journal I would say (it's not like there is any caving to write about right now!)
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Offline Duck ditch

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #42 on: May 16, 2020, 07:14:19 am »
I think I’m living in a bubble.  Maybe the lack of travelling and meeting friends and family is the reason.  Maybe we are all living in our own neighbourhood bubble.
I hope people come to the dales and enjoy the outdoors,  release the tensions of living and get some fresh air.  I’m keen to social distance and hope everybody else feels the same. 
My heart sinks hearing and seeing what’s happening in places like Sheffield. 
I think a second lock down is inevitable having seen this. It won’t be because a handful of cavers tried there best to isolate and cave at the same time. 

This will keep me away from vulnerable friends and family for the foreseeable future.  All because of what I see as a bunch of selfish bastards. I would be incandescent with rage if I was a nurse.
80% of people are doing the right thing but the 20% will win the day and keep us in a loop of lockdowns. 

Offline mikem

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #43 on: May 16, 2020, 07:47:14 am »
Legally I'm pretty sure you can do what you wish.
Except meet up with more than one person from outside your household, & it doesn't give you right to enter private land - where many caves are located (in reality pretty much every cave, as they aren't currently covered by CRoW)...

First part, no, second part, yes. What you used to be allowed to do, you still are. Rules are not laws.
In England. Wales' laws on social distancing are enforceable.

Offline Fjell

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #44 on: May 16, 2020, 07:52:01 am »
I really don’t think the boffins are worried about running around outside, they are worried about indoors. In particular 8 million kids going back to school in coming months, the 7 million unable to work and Winter Is Coming as Whitty put on one of his Gresham lecture slides. And no certainty of an effective vaccine as he put on another. That’s someone who’s doing the heavy lifting and I don’t envy him. He’s also no doubt looking forward to the inquisition by the non-participants at some point.

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #45 on: May 16, 2020, 10:13:18 am »
Speaking as one who worked within the nuclear industry handling radioactive material, I think Tim.Rose2 underplays the cross contamination route.  I agree with focusing on points 2 re inhalation, 3 on subcutaneous & 4 on ingestion as routes by which one could take in the virus.  And I accept that there probably is some value in writing some detailed information on exposure routes whilst caving so cavers are aware of the potential protective measures which can be taken.

But I would observe that we have no numerical 'science' to make estimates of variation in the level of probability of getting the virus.  I therefore suggest we should just view the probability as being similar to all other activities for exposure.  That then leaves the assessment of consequence which I presume most people are already aware of.

What did strike me is that these points all focus on 'me'.  What about others?  If you recall, the first concerns expressed early on referred to rescue and the impact on rescuers.  That then developed onto the theme of potential bad publicity arising from a rescue.  And just this week with the notional easing in England, it has struck me that we now have to take into account the views of those living in the caving areas.  So the question in my mind  is what other potential topic should we be looking at which might bear negatively on our sport of caving?  That might be poorly put but I hope you get my thought.

Offline Speleofish

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2020, 10:48:13 am »
In response to Tim Rose's post, you can recover virus from blood, urine and stool. Whether you can catch it from stool or urine isn't clear. For the general population, saliva, sputum and, to a much lesser degree blood are most important.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #47 on: May 16, 2020, 12:01:52 pm »
Don't forget semen:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/07/covid-19-found-in-semen-of-infected-men-say-chinese-doctors

Also this video is very instructive, if irritatingly loop-edited, but it shows an experiment in Japan of how easily a contaminant can be spread - in this case via a buffet:


Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2020, 02:59:38 pm »
Our local park normal today. A lot of people. Toilets reopened. Icecream man there.  Surely caving can't be that far away.

Offline mikem

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Re: Is it OK to go caving?
« Reply #49 on: May 16, 2020, 03:12:28 pm »
Well, apart from lockdown 2 - the bigger, badder version...

 

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