Unfortunately, the fix I had only works part of the time, but the fans were still running pretty constantly. This was bugging me more and more, so I ended up biting the bullet and opted to wipe my machine, re-install Catalina and work from a time machine backup.
For a while there, I started to see the kernal_task CPU usage hit something stupid like 600%+, which I’m not sure how that even works. Everything got slow and laggy, to the point where I was contemplating a fresh install from a Time Machine backup (still not out of the question).
From what I can tell, it’s definitely Spotlight given that mds and mds_stores are hogging up resources a lot. I’ve moved an incredible number of folders into the “Privacy” section so they won’t be indexed, but that hasn’t helped much. I thought this was a Time Machine issue at first, but it’s been a few days now and I was really hoping things would have settled down.
But as far as the “storage” area on the drive? It’s just in one place, and that made me nervous. Since it holds all my old photos and pretty much every document I’ve ever touched… having it sit there in one place made me super concerned.
There’s a way you can check your Mac, to see if it’s infected, using the command line. If you’re not so comfortable doing this (and I’m not so much), Mashable has bundled everything into two scripts you can download and run.