Wash your hands like you’re Lady MacBeth and other practical measures.
It can really seem like we are in short supply of not just toilet paper, but also of responsible precautions. A little common sense goes a long way was a regular reminder for many of us growing up. In the WSJ, Sumathi Reddy gives advice that, while not necessarily groundbreaking, is more like reassurances from mothers and grandmothers to confused offspring.
- Is It Safe to Go to the Grocery Store?
“The biggest risk factor is really being around other people,” advises Benjamin Chapman, a professor of food safety at North Carolina State University.
Common Sense: Minimize visits. Go off hours. Maintain a 6-foot buffer around you.
- Coronavirus and Food Packaging
The virus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on hard surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for two to three days, reported a recent NEJM study.
But experts note, the studies were done in a laboratory with high doses of the virus, so it is unknown if in real life the virus can be transmitted that way.
Most likely if someone were to sneeze or cough on a cardboard container, the virus would degrade more quickly due to environmental factors, such as sunlight.
Randy Worobo, a professor of food microbiology at Cornell University, focus on washing your hands. “It’s much better to treat your hands, wash your hands, rather than dealing with all the surfaces.”
Common Sense: No need to focus on wiping down packaging and containers.
Wash your hands like you’re Lady MacBeth.
- Coronavirus and the Food You Eat
Your mouth is a gateway to both your respiratory system (your lungs) and your digestive system (stomach). Respiratory viruses like the novel coronavirus are believed to enter the body and reproduce through the respiratory tract, not the digestive tract.
Speculates Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minn.: The gastric acid in the stomach would kill it. “My own speculation is that the GI route would be very low likelihood compared to known and efficient methods of infection,” he says.
Common Sense: Coronavirus is a respiratory not a GI virus.
- How About Paper or Plastic Bags and Packaging
The coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and hard services (plastic, stainless steel) for 2-3 days.
Common Sense: James Lloyd-Smith, a professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests discarding the materials if someone else handled the materials recently. Then wash your hands.
- Is It Necessary to Strip after Visiting the Grocery Store
Do if you wish, but there are no specific studies on this. It may not be a bad ideas, especially if you feel you’ve been coughed on.
Wash your clothing in the warmest temp recommended by manufacturer and dry thoroughly.
Common Sense: Laundering clothing kills the virus.
- Try Not to Use Your Phone while Grocery Shopping
Don’t forget, your phone is your 3rd hand.
Common Sense: Oh yuk. Wipe your phone down regularly, especially if you’ve used it in the grocery store.
P.S. To mask, or not to mask.
P.P.S. In the Age of Coronavirus: a Homemade Throat Sanitizer.
P.P.P.S. If you can’t find hand-sanitizer, you can make your own.