Eclipsed by Coronavirus media exaggerations and unforgivable politicalization, are the benefits of the public’s emerging better behaviors regarding hand cleanliness. The legacy of the Coronavirus outbreak in the USA is likely to be that it saved more lives than those lost to Covid-19.
This outbreak is clearly a costly and inefficient public health message, amplified by fear and misinformation. Some are guilty of seeking perfection while good is enough to save lives. Yes, let’s wash our hands with soap and water … when available! But the AWAY-FROM-HOME world commonly demands hand cleansing where water is unavailable or so inconvenient it will not be used. Without a more full-throated recommendation for alcohol hand sanitizers by the CDC and FDA misinformation abounds.
The CDC could point out that the Coronavirus is a member of the “enveloped” variety of viruses which is easily killed by alcohol. Think of the envelope as a fragile eggshell exploded by contact with alcohol hand sanitizer.
Here is a ten point summary of the public’s learning, which, if remembered for the next flu season, will save thousands of lives and minimize absenteeism in education as well as the workforce in general:
• Stay home if symptomatic.
• Wash your hands as the first order of business every time you re-enter your home.
• Stay 3 feet away from anyone exhibiting symptoms.
• Sneeze or cough into your elbow. Wear a mask to protect others.
• Use a 70% alcohol hand sanitizer as often as you encounter shared high-touch surfaces. Replace hand shakes with fist & elbow bumps as well as smiles. Wash with soap & water when available. Avoid facial touches. Stay hydrated. Get extra sleep.
• Fallen sneeze/cough particles contaminate surfaces. Avoid touching shared high-touch surfaces when possible. Pay particular attention to those touches requiring a degree of force like restroom stall door-locks, manual paper towel dispensers and table latches at airplane seats.
• Carry disinfectant/sanitizing wipes to clean the surfaces covered in #6.
• Seniors are for the most part immune-system compromised as are little children.
• Nursing Homes need much more hand washing/sanitizing as does daycare.
• Base personal behaviors on the science, not the shock-driven media. Don’t allow concern to move on to fear and then to panic.