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shellbadger

Has Anyone Considered Disabling Caches Until the Virus Threat is Past

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I assume the coronavirus is responsible for the sudden 60% drop in the volume of emailed trackable logs I receive each day.  Those logs originating in Europe are down about 80%.  Furthermore, Spring Break traffic should be under way here in Texas, but the stops at my containers are not what they have historically been.  Almost certainly cachers are not traveling as much, but I am wondering if there is not also an element of paranoia involved...a reluctance to handle a container or contents, notably trackables, touched by a multitude.  Should we buy into this possible concern and disable caches until the nature of the virus is better understood?  

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I only have three active hides, but I haven't disabled them. They only get a handful of finds a year anyway. If someone feels well enough to go look for them. why should I prevent them from doing so?

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13 minutes ago, shellbadger said:

I assume the coronavirus is responsible for the sudden 60% drop in the volume of emailed trackable logs I receive each day.  Those logs originating in Europe are down about 80%.  Furthermore, Spring Break traffic should be under way here in Texas, but the stops at my containers are not what they have historically been.  Almost certainly cachers are not traveling as much, but I am wondering if there is not also an element of paranoia involved...a reluctance to handle a container or contents, notably trackables, touched by a multitude. 

Should we buy into this possible concern and disable caches until the nature of the virus is better understood?  

 

Everyone we know have seen a drop in visitors to their hides after all the locals hit 'em.  Later it's folks who travel, or "just passing through".

Unless you have a virtual at a tourist location, that seems to be the norm. :)

 - But few later stops doesn't mean no one's interested.  We're saving for one in another country (and want to stay a month).

 

We've carried purell and single-pack wipes in every pack or bag we own since starting this outdoors hobby.   

Handling containers and items inside, left outdoors in changing seasons and damp environments not too different.

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We haven't been caching as much as usual for a few months now. Nothing to do with Corona. First we were busy after our holidays, then I've been ill, then it was Xmas period, then planning our  2020 vacation and bad weather with rain and storm. Now the weather is clearing but woods and fields are very muddy so we'll have to look carefully where we can go. We'll prepare something tomorrow for Sunday. Bad news is that café's and restaurants are closed starting tomorrow and we usually make one or two stops for a drink and sweets during our outings.

 

We don't worry about Corona hampering our caching as there's less chance to get it from a container than people in shops (non-essential shops will close here during weekends too).

As we prefer multi's there's even less chance to run into other cachers :ph34r:

 

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Caching could well be one of the safest forms of entertainment left to some folks.  Outdoors, no crowds.  Pay a little attention to handling things is all.  If really concerned, gloves are still widely available most places.  I certainly wouldn't be disabling any of mine, though I can see where people with 'library caches' and similar in some parts of the world probably won't see very many finders in the near term.

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WHO current and factual advice is set out here,

 and includes this

"People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. "

and

" It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment). If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose."

 

So it seems authoritative information specifically for covid19 is still quite generic 

I don't think disabling caches or shunning trackables is needed, just clean your hands after handling a container or TB and don't touch your face. Reluctance to travel is more of a factor in reductions of finds and discoveries I suspect. The airline industry is having a really bad time , tourism is affected , the thought of going on a cruise or coach trip is not going to be popular with anyone, and that's bound to have an impact on caching.

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4 hours ago, shellbadger said:

I assume the coronavirus is responsible for the sudden 60% drop in the volume of emailed trackable logs I receive each day.  Those logs originating in Europe are down about 80%.  Furthermore, Spring Break traffic should be under way here in Texas, but the stops at my containers are not what they have historically been.  Almost certainly cachers are not traveling as much, but I am wondering if there is not also an element of paranoia involved...a reluctance to handle a container or contents, notably trackables, touched by a multitude.  Should we buy into this possible concern and disable caches until the nature of the virus is better understood?  

Did you disable any during the 2018-2019 flu season when over 1800 people died in your home state?

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Posted (edited)
On 3/14/2020 at 6:23 AM, hal-an-tow said:

Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.

 

Most of my caches get maybe one or two finds a year so I don't think touching them or their contents is a significant risk. Even my most popular ones are rarely more than a few finds a month.

 

Caching is an activity that's mostly done away from other people, so in that respect it's an ideal pastime for this situation and better for our health than sitting at home all day watching TV. I really hope people don't start disabling caches as part of the panic.

Edited by barefootjeff
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4 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Most of my caches get maybe one or two finds a year so I don't think touching them or their contents is a significant risk. Even my post popular ones are rarely more than a few finds a month.

 

Caching is an activity that's mostly done away from other people, so in that respect it's an ideal pastime for this situation and better for our health than sitting at home all day watching TV. I really hope people don't start disabling caches as part of the panic.

Geocaching will be my only Spring Break activity, and I hope to encounter very few people.

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I have been caching more. It gets me out of town and into the open air of the desert. I won’t touch a wet long anymore without gloves. Carry a little Lysol for urban hides that get found a lot. Clean your hands often. Caching is the ideal past time, as I usually go alone. Minimal risk. 

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4 hours ago, shellbadger said:

I assume the coronavirus is responsible for the sudden 60% drop in the volume of emailed trackable logs I receive each day.  Those logs originating in Europe are down about 80%.  Furthermore, Spring Break traffic should be under way here in Texas, but the stops at my containers are not what they have historically been.  Almost certainly cachers are not traveling as much, but I am wondering if there is not also an element of paranoia involved...a reluctance to handle a container or contents, notably trackables, touched by a multitude.  Should we buy into this possible concern and disable caches until the nature of the virus is better understood?  

no.

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Let's face it a lot of caching containers are in the elements. Handwashing/cleaning is a must. I found this one yesterday, yuck.  Let alone touching fire hydrants with remnants of dog or human pee. I got a fresh one a week or so ago lol. All part of the game. Wash those hands.

 

As stated it is one of the best activities I can think of. Was sent to work from home you bet I'll be getting out now I have and extra hour and a half less time spent commuting. 

mush.jpg

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I can find many caches that don't get many visitors where I live, so I am not worried about caching. I can check before I go out when that cache was last found; weeks, months ago...

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Posted (edited)

Here in Ontario, schools are closed for 3 weeks (1 for March break and two additional weeks for closure) and I am a kindergarten teacher so I will be off. I am planning on doing a month long streak since I will be off for three weeks. I wash my hands whenever I can while I am caching anyways so I still plan on doing it. My city has found very few cases. 

Edited by psychpineapple
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1 minute ago, psychpineapple said:

Here in Ontario, schools are closed for 3 weeks (1 for March break and two additional weeks for closure). I am planning on doing a month long streak since I will be off for three weeks. I wash my hands whenever I can while I am caching anyways so I still plan on doing it. My city has found very few cases. 

I wish I could wash my hands while out geocaching without having to stop inside a convenience store. That's what I'm trying to avoid.

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, Viajero Perdido said:

Moldy caches?  Meh.  Mold wants to attack damp paper, not humans.  Forest bacteria want to attack freshly-fallen leaves, not humans.  Viruses that do want to attack humans don't live long outside of humans.  Seek lonely caches deep in the forest, and all you'll have to worry about is ick, mold!

A nasty exception to that ... "black mold".  There's a reason that professional mitigation is encouraged if found in the home.   Yes, it LOVES paper. 

 

Wouldn't be sticking my fingers in my nose after handling some of the moldy messes I've run across in the field, that's for sure.

 

Edited by ecanderson
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Carry wipes and hand sanitiser and it’s business as usual. More chance of being hit by a bus crossing the road to log a cache. 

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2 hours ago, Ms Maddy said:

Carry wipes and hand sanitiser and it’s business as usual. More chance of being hit by a bus crossing the road to log a cache. 

I would if I could, but stores have been out for weeks!

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16 hours ago, psychpineapple said:

Here in Ontario, schools are closed for 3 weeks (1 for March break and two additional weeks for closure) and I am a kindergarten teacher so I will be off. I am planning on doing a month long streak since I will be off for three weeks. I wash my hands whenever I can while I am caching anyways so I still plan on doing it. My city has found very few cases. 

 

Our grammar schools (kindergarten to 12th grade) closed yesterday until April 12th but will be implementing virtual remote instruction where possible.  The university where I work asked all student to leave campus.  Classes were cancelled as of 5pm yesterday then virtual instruction will replace classes when possible for the remainder of the semester.   I left work in the afternoon on Wednesday to work from home and have not returned to my office.  I am in the demographic which is considered vulnerable.  

 

According to the county health department site there are 52 in quarantine, 15 awaiting testing results, and 0 confirmed cases.  Of the 52 in quarantine, those not tested had only visited an area where corona has been confirmed and are asymptomatic.  

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4 hours ago, Ms Maddy said:

Carry wipes and hand sanitiser and it’s business as usual. More chance of being hit by a bus crossing the road to log a cache. 

 

Not here.  Schools are all closed.

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4 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

I would if I could, but stores have been out for weeks!

I just made some up for an upcoming international flight.

What the public evidently hasn't yet realized is that Everclear (95% ethanol) is a perfectly good substitute for isopropanol (which you can usually get at max 70%) and the latter keeps getting wiped off the shelves.  So visit your local liquor store, mix in about 10-1 ratio with your favorite miscible hand cream (aloe vera, Aveno, whatever) to keep it from drying your hands out quite so badly, and off you go. 

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19 minutes ago, ecanderson said:

What the public evidently hasn't yet realized is that Everclear (95% ethanol) is a perfectly good substitute for isopropanol (which you can usually get at max 70%) and the latter keeps getting wiped off the shelves.

Interestingly, I cannot buy Everclear (190 proof, 95% ethanol) here in California. I can usually find 90% isopropyl alcohol though. (Right now, the stores are sold out of whatever the masses have decided is worth hoarding, but that's a different issue.)

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22 hours ago, hal-an-tow said:

Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.

 

So look for caches that haven't been found for more than "several days."  Or wear gloves.  Just stay away from caches in crowded urban areas.

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3 hours ago, NanCycle said:

 

So look for caches that haven't been found for more than "several days."  Or wear gloves.  Just stay away from caches in crowded urban areas.

That's what I am planning to do. Many caches don't get found for weeks between loggers, so I will seek out those caches. There are some caches in more remote areas that have years between finds, but visiting those areas (often extremely thick bush) needs companions for safety.

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Posted (edited)

Worth mentioning:

 

Caches - if chosen well - offer exercise.  And exercise strengthens the immune system.  Going caching can keep you healthy enough to repel an infection without even realizing it.

 

bb8a2204-93f3-47be-9a24-4083414bb9a5_d.j

 

Other important immune boosters: mushrooms, zinc (but... empty shelf syndrome), vegetables in general, 8-9 hours of sleep a night.  There are books on the subject.  (May I recommend: Super Immunity by Joel Fuhrman, Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.)

 

Edited by Viajero Perdido
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1 hour ago, Goldenwattle said:

That's what I am planning to do. Many caches don't get found for weeks between loggers, so I will seek out those caches. There are some caches in more remote areas that have years between finds, but visiting those areas (often extremely thick bush) needs companions for safety.

 

Five of my caches haven't been found in over a year (GC61HCN, GC77C75, GC752YF, GC6XHHJ and GC5P0CE). None of those are in hazardous areas and all are close to roads, fire trails, major walking trails (the Great North Walk) or suburbia. Ideal for getting a bit of solitary excercise with little chance of virus exposure, I'd think.

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1 hour ago, Goldenwattle said:

That's what I am planning to do. Many caches don't get found for weeks between loggers, so I will seek out those caches. There are some caches in more remote areas that have years between finds, but visiting those areas (often extremely thick bush) needs companions for safety.

 

Hmm...  I love lonely caches.  I've found 41 that had not been found in two years or more.  Mostly hiking caches.  And this is in a heavily populated area:  New Jersey.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

That's what I am planning to do. Many caches don't get found for weeks between loggers, so I will seek out those caches. There are some caches in more remote areas that have years between finds, but visiting those areas (often extremely thick bush) needs companions for safety.

My turn to be cynical.:lol:

That's a bit OTT. More likely to get a virus from companions than a cache.

Is there any documented case/s of a cacher catching anything from handling a cache? Hmm?

Edited by colleda

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1 hour ago, colleda said:

 

Is there any documented case/s of a cacher catching anything from handling a cache? Hmm?

Yes, an obsession with finding more caches. :D

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7 hours ago, colleda said:

My turn to be cynical.:lol:

That's a bit OTT. More likely to get a virus from companions than a cache.

Is there any documented case/s of a cacher catching anything from handling a cache? Hmm?

That is why I mentioned the companions; basically likely ruling a remote cache out. Unless we all arrived in separate cars and then walked with space between us and only one person handled the log and signed all names. Seems extreme though...but maybe today that would not be considered so.

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Usually I have training several times a week but all the training halls have been closed due to the virus. So what should I do? Stay at home for several weeks without doing any sports activities? I am not a biological expert but I am sure that is not what strengthens my body and the immune system and I think a weak body is the last thing we all need to "survive" the virus thread.

 

So I went out geocaching yesterday. I had a great bike trip (more than 60 kilometres with some nice slopes). I didn't touch too many geocaches as most of the trip was one big multi cache with virtual stages. But I found some boxes, touched the logbooks and one was even wet - I signed it as good as possible as I would normally do. And I ate bread and sweets using the same hands! I washed my hands when I returned not in between - how should I have done it!?

 

I'll tell you if I won't survive....

 

As long as we aren't banned to go out side I will do - and I am sure that will be good for my immune system. So please keep your caches active. :-)

 

Today I am going to watch for one of my own caches that needs a little owner love - it will get it. :-)

 

Best wishes

Jochen

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Posted (edited)

For those in the USA that do not want to handle geocache containers (I always wear full fingered gloves when on the mountain bike so I pick up all kinds of rusty, wet, dirty caches without a second thought) consider hunting benchmarks. You may have to move some dirt but it is unlikely to contain SARS-CoV-2 

Anyone that decides to take this advice seriously (I am only half-jesting, I really enjoy benchmarking) just be sure the marks you go after are publicly accessible (some are not, please do not wander onto airport runways) and read the Me First! thread in the GS benchmark forum:

 

 

Edited by Michaelcycle
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Posted (edited)

This is a wonderful time to go caching. Areas usually beset by muggle are eerily quiet. I went caching yesterday and found every cache I hunted. The best virus  defense is social distancing. I cache alone so its perfect.

 

Obviously, this comment reflects the ground reality of my region of the world. In reading follow on posts it has become clear that my reality is far from average n a global perspective. Please respect the rules in place in your locality to deal with the pandemic.

Edited by ras_oscar
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I'm not throwing an event any time soon, or attending one.  But I'm going to keep our caches active until just before the movers come to pack out our apartment.  (Assuming, that is, that Uncle Sam lets us come home this summer - right now, that's to be decided.)

 

For those who don't want to interact with a cache container, may I recommend earthcaches?  

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If cache visits are declining then what is the point in disabling them. Seems like a problem already taking care of itself.

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We disabled our 26 caches located in western of France - Brittany. 

The government has decided to limit the movement of citizens from 3/17 at 12:00 pm

Only vital travels are authorized.
We posted the message: "Deactivation until further notice. Be responsible and show good citizenship"

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My county has announced a "shelter in place" order, starting at midnight tonight.

 

Interestingly, outdoor activities like walking, hiking, and running are considered "essential activities" and are not banned.

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Here in Spain we did it.

You can see how many disabled cache there are in Spain...

We are a close-knit community

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21 hours ago, ras_oscar said:

This is a wonderful time to go caching. Areas usually beset by muggle are eerily quiet. I went caching yesterday and found every cache I hunted. The best virus  defense is social distancing. I cache alone so its perfect.

 

In Spain it is forbidden to go out. I is forbidden to go out for leisure. You can only go outside for certain reasons. Geocaching is not one of them

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25 minutes ago, Picarax said:

 

In Spain it is forbidden to go out. I is forbidden to go out for leisure. You can only go outside for certain reasons. Geocaching is not one of them

 

The same for France. I suspect in the following hours or days Belgium will follow.

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2 minutes ago, on4bam said:

 

The same for France. I suspect in the following hours or days Belgium will follow.

 

 

Be strong, my friends.

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I have an urban traditional who is usually found at least once a day. I temporarily disabled it and I advise other owners to do the same. This is my disable-log:

 

This Cache is found quite often. The Corona-Virus can stay active on surfaces for hours to days. It's not only about protecting you against infection but to slow the exponential transfer of the virus in the population. Whoever is finding/logging a frequently found cache should at least wear gloves.

EVEN HEALTHY PEOPLE CAN TRANSFER VIRUSES!
It will be too late, when doctors have to take away ventilators from 80-year-olds, because 70-year-olds have a better survival chance (like it happened e.g. in Italy). Slow the exponential growth now!
Whoever thinks they need to log this cache, can do it online with a photo of the coat of arms.


Dieser Cache wird oft gefunden. Corona-Viren überstehen Stunden bis Tage auf Oberflächen. Wer es immer noch nicht kapiert hat: Es geht nicht nur darum, Euch vor Infektionen zu schützen sondern v.a. die Möglichkeiten der exponentiellen Weitergabe zu minimieren. Wer trotzdem einen häufig besuchten Cache sucht/loggt sollte zumindest Handschuhe tragen.
AUCH WER GESUND IST, KANN DIE VIREN ÜBERTRAGEN!
Wenn 80jährigen die Beatmungsgeräte abgenommen werden, weil 70jährige bessere Überlebenschancen haben (s. z.B. Italien) ist es zu spät. Jetzt das exponentielle Wachstum verlangsamen.
Wer unbedingt will, kann z.Z. von mir aus auch mit einem Foto des Wappens aus dem Hint online loggen.

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9 hours ago, niraD said:

My county has announced a "shelter in place" order, starting at midnight tonight.

 

Interestingly, outdoor activities like walking, hiking, and running are considered "essential activities" and are not banned.

It might depend on the population density. In areas with low population density it would be easy to go out for exercise and keep a distance from other people; but not so in areas with high population density (at least in the cities). Many European cities have high population densities.

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Yes this is another situation where a rule in one region may not apply the same in another. The spirit of the rule remains the same, but the application and reasoning may differ, so it can really bug people if one assumes your rules should apply worldwide. Pay attention to your local health authorities and obey them, that's your best course of action.

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On 3/13/2020 at 11:45 AM, cerberus1 said:

We've carried purell and single-pack wipes in every pack or bag we own since starting this outdoors hobby.   

Handling containers and items inside, left outdoors in changing seasons and damp environments not too different.

 

I agree 1000%.

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On 3/13/2020 at 5:42 PM, Max and 99 said:

I wish I could wash my hands while out geocaching without having to stop inside a convenience store. That's what I'm trying to avoid.

 

We carry baby wipes, but I also have a suds pump (I got mine from Pampered Chef but I am sure others make them).  You fill it partially with regular antibacterial hand soap and then to the indicator line with water.  It allows a quick hand-wash without the need for running water.  Just pump out the foam, rub your hands together, and dry them with a paper towel/napkin.

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This is a great time to take care of that long-delayed maintenance run!  

I'll wear gloves while handling my caches, even though I have no symptoms of illness, so you can feel safe going for them  after I've done the maintenance.

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