Risk of catching Coronavirus from surface, airborne water droplets, and direct contact.

Whatever the source of the COVID-19 virus it is a novel (new) form of the Coronavirus family about which we knew nothing (December 2019) and for which, bioscientists worldwide, are studying to discover both a cure and a vaccine (preventative).

In the meantime, as they, the scientists gather more and more information about the way the disease spreads, the advice we receive on “self-protection” constantly changes.

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As ‘lock-down’ is relaxed so the regulations in each state begin to vary, as indeed they do between countries.  We aim to give you a broad overview of the risks we all face and the action we can take to protect ourselves and our loved ones. AND by lessening OUR risks we lessen the risk of infecting OTHERS. 

Let’s start with the subject which causes the most concern, risk of catching Coronavirus from surface. While it is not risk-free, it is relatively uncommon as a cause of infection AND the most easily contained!

Sanitized (see below for ‘How to….) surfaces present almost zero risks and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently confirmed that COVID-19, “does not spread easily” from “touching surfaces or objects”.  The idea that supermarket packaging, plastic bags, bottles, or jars could be infectious has caused a deal of anxiety and concern.  If you have been wiping down packages, groceries, and even letters, you can relax.  You will gain better protection from handwashing and surface sanitization!

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There is no such thing as zero risk but frequent and thorough handwashing is the surest way of protecting yourself and others in your household.  It virtually eliminates the possibility of transferring the virus from an infected surface to yourself and onward to others.

Risk of catching Coronavirus from airborne water droplets.

The most significant means of spreading the virus is by airborne water droplets e.g. a sneeze or cough. This is most likely between members of the same household or in sustained contact (less than six feet) in an enclosed environment, e.g. the workplace.  It makes sense to maintain a ‘social distance’ and avoid direct contact, e.g. a handshake, as much as possible.

The opinion is divided about the value of ‘masking’, It is generally agreed that ‘masking’ in enclosed public areas e.g. shops or public transport, lessens the chance of the wearer (you), spreading the virus.  When you see other people wearing masks, YOU have a lower risk of being infected.

A TIP.  Practice the COVID-19 shrug, which conveys the idea of an opportunity lost – for a hug or a handshake.

How to sanitize surface to prevent Coronavirus?

To reduce your chance of catching or spreading the new (any) Coronavirus. Clean and disinfect common surfaces and objects in your home and office every day before use (for your protection) AND when you have finished (to protect your family or colleagues).

Examples

  • Countertops
  • Tables
  • Doorknobs
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Phones
  • Keyboards
  • Remote controls
  • Toilets
  • Any shared tools or equipment

Use a household cleaning spray or wipe. If the surfaces are dirty, clean them first with soap and water and then disinfect them.

Carry a gel dispenser or hand wipes with you whenever you leave the house, or at least, keep a dispenser and wipes in the auto. 

You can also make a bleach solution that will be good for up to 24 hours. Mix 5 tablespoons (one-third cup) of household bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons per quart of water. Never mix bleach with ammonia or another cleanser. Leave cleaners or bleach solutions on surfaces for at least 1 minute.

A WORD OF WARNING

When used as directed, bleach is harmless to humans. It kills viruses!  Do not be tempted to use bleach for medical purposes, however, dilute. It may not kill but it can do irreparable damage.

Read our article on How to manage the stress during Coronavirus pandemic?