Is Naturally Aspirated A Bad Thing During the Pandemic?

In a recent COVID-19 conversation between two auto enthusiasts about the shortage of respirators, a question came up. The answer to the question was shockingly, and comically automotive based, and somewhat cerebral at times in its depth. The question was, what does a respirator do?

The simple answer is that it is a device made to push air. But, no. Instead of a direct answer, the two auto enthusiasts launched into a conversation about carburetors being tuned for sea level versus high altitude. That then careened into a conversation about fuel injection, turbos, and superchargers. Remember, these two auto enthusiasts have a lot of time to kill with this COVID-19 quarantine currently underway. So, the enthusiasts kept explaining the answer in incredible detail, much like the character Jonathan Higgins would explain past triumphs ad nauseam in Magnum PI.

Ventilator Tubes and Gloves
Protective gloves, sanitizer and tubes of a ventilator | Photo by Axel Heimken / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

The fact is that there was truth in the explanation that the two enthusiasts offered. A carburated car that is tuned for sea level driving will need more air to climb a high mountain. The sea level tune will not work as well. Likewise, people working through ailments like COVID-19 sometimes require help to push air to the lungs. Sometimes antibiotics or other drugs can help with the functions of the lungs. Other times respirators may be added to treatment to alleviate and support the natural breathing function. In cars, one can tune the carburetor to the mountain air pressure. Similarly, in humans, a respirator helps tune the air mixture when drugs alone are not able to help sufficiently.

The Carburetor

A carburetor is a device that has been around for over a century. It is a device that delivers fuel and air as a mixture into the depths of an engine. Even in today’s environments, some carb enthusiasts argue that carbs make more power than engines with forced-injection because the engine temperature stays relatively cool. The cooler the engine, the better it performs.

Fuel Injection Diagram
A Diagram Depicting the Sequence Of Events Involving Fuel-Injection Systems | Photo By Encyclopaedia Britannica/UIG Via Getty Images

Fuel Injection Systems and COVID-19

Fuel Injection systems pressurize the fuel and control the mixture to the injectors. It is a system that, once programmed, automatically and reliably adapts to temperature, humidity, and altitude based on sensors. This would be the equivalent of the antibiotics and other medicines being added to a human system.

Forced-Air Induction and COVID-19

In traditional forced-air induction systems, a turbo or supercharger moves air at very high speeds back inside the combustion chambers of the engine. Add it to either a carburetor and or a fuel injector system and great performance ensues. This is equivalent to a respirator being added to a course of medication.

Roush Phase 2 Mustang supercharger
Roush Phase 2 Mustang supercharger close-up | Roush

Granted, the explanation of carburetors, fuel injection, and forced induction seems a little far-fetched when it relates to COVID-19 and the need for respirators. People are a lot more important than car engines. However, the conversation ended up being the way the two auto enthusiasts related to the situation we are all facing before us globally right now.

The Need to Return to Naturally Aspirated

The sobering thought that ended the conversation is that both of the enthusiasts would rather that the engine be able to breathe its own. Medicines and respirators, or fuel injection and forced induction systems mean nothing if the host is not able to perform on its own. That is the scary thought we are seeing played out daily in the news outlets. Humanity right now is crying out for a return to natural aspiration, that is, for people to be healthy enough to breathe on their own again.

To all my readers, family, and friends I send a virtual hug. Fight the good fight. Kick Coronavirus Pandemic butt!