Protecting yourself from Covid-19/ Nass’ recommendations

The new coronavirus spreads readily, like flu or cold viruses, but is much more likely to affect family members of someone already infected than others.  We Americans are not very good at protecting ourselves from cold and flu viruses.  Maybe we can learn some strategies that will help us avoid Covid-19, as well as helping to protect us from future respiratory viruses.

How does Covid

1.  From coughing/sneezing and, less likely, even
from someone breathing.  Large droplets
from a cough travel up to 3 feet, while smaller droplets can travel up to 6
feet.  Staying more than 6 feet away from
others offers pretty good protection. 
Keeping the door closed when someone has the virus adds protection for
others.  [CDC says stay 6' away and WHO says
3', fyi]

2.  Those droplets then land on all objects
within range.  The virus can live more
than a week on certain surfaces if left undisturbed.  When you touch those objects, which in
medical jargon are called fomites, you have picked up the virus on your hand.

3.  Covid has also been found in urine and
stool.  When you use a urinal or flush a
toilet you may aerosolize some live virus. 
Perhaps those who have Covid should put toilet seats down when they
flush, and males should consider urinating while seated.  Keep bathroom surfaces very clean; use gloves
when you wash them if possible.  Then
wash your hands with soap and water after removing gloves.

We talked about
where you can find Covid.  But how do you
actually get it?

touch your eyes, nose, mouth (possibly other mucus membranes) with an infected
hand, or you inhale the virus.  Inhaling
is thought to be the #1 source of infection. Handwashing as much as possible,
and always when you first arrive home, is the best protection.  I worry about cuts on hands, especially from
so much handwashing.  Feel free to use
moisturizers to prevent cracking.

Where might Covid
be lurking?

may be on anything anyone touches. 
Whenever you open a door, pick up an item in the grocery, use a phone or
keyboard that you share, you could pick up Covid or another virus. 

So what is the

need to be in the habit of being in control of your hands.  Start practicing this technique right now,
and don't stop till this outbreak is over. 
DO NOT touch your face with your hands, unless you have just washed
them.  Do less touching of your face, in
general.  Maybe you can use a tissue, not
a finger.


and bacteria cannot pass through plastic. 
They can pass through paper, but it is not easy for them.  Use barrier materials to open door knobs,
pick up items in the grocery, etc.  This
will reduce your exposure.  Wash hands
once you return home.

What cleaning
agents are effective at decontaminating Covid?

CDC and EPA have done is to allow manufacturers to certify their own products
as being effective for Covid-19.  No
federal agencies, nor WHO or the British National Health Service discuss the
results of environmental testing of Covid-19 on the infection control sections
of their websites. Thus we do not know how long Covid-19 survives on various
surfaces.  Nor do we know from any
official testing which chemical decontaminants are effective. This is a big
problem I will describe further, below. For the moment, all we have is a list
of self-certified cleaning products, about which the EPA states, "Inclusion on this list does not
constitute an endorsement by EPA."

is the current list of manufacturer-certified products:

most uses, 70% alcohol rub or diluted bleach (1/3 cup in a gallon of water, or
1000 ppm chlorine) are CDC-recommended.  The longer disinfectants stay wet on a
surface, the better job they do.  So
allow them to dry in place.

agents related to benzalkonium chloride (quaternary ammonium compounds), or
lower concentrations of alcohol and bleach, are thought to be ineffective.  Surfaces must be cleaned of visible dirt
before disinfectants are used, because dirt, food, blood, etc. can inactivate
the disinfectant and allow virus to persist, if not cleaned up first.

What did we learn
from the 2003 SARS outbreak?

group of French researchers studied SARS coronavirus viability on surfaces,
and methods of decontamination.  They
found that it took 5 weeks for the
SARS virus, when dried on a clean glass petri dish, to lose viability.  They

our hands, the human SARS-Coronavirus is the most resistant enveloped virus
ever described.
It takes 35 to 42 days to inactivate the virus by drying,
and formaldehyde fumigation has no effect on the dried virus. This means that
existing decontamination strategies cannot be extrapolated to emerging viruses
and that the conditions for
decontamination should be determined specifically for each new virus."

Are our public health agencies
afraid to frighten us once again, and thus their silence on this issue of
importance?  Or are they too incompetent to perform the necessary testing?  

Members of a police sanitation team spray disinfectant as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus.

Also, be aware that the French authors used a higher concentration of sodium hypochlorite, 6400ppm, or about 6
times as concentrated a solution of bleach as what CDC
. They did not test other concentrations.


should be placed on ill persons so they don’t expel droplets of virus any further
than the mask.  Their masks are
contaminated but protect others. 
Healthcare workers wear N95 HEPA masks with a tight fit to screen out
95% of virus they might breath in while caring for affected patients.

a surgical/dust mask help you?  Probably
a little, but it will get contaminated and could be more of a hazard than help
at that point.  Who has boxes of masks?

Chinese often use clear visors that cover their faces—what a good idea!  An easy to clean, reusable surface to cover
your eyes, nose and mouth.  And you don't
feel like you are suffocating when you wear one.  Consider this method of protection.

when we run out of gloves, plastic sheeting material can still be used as
barrier protections where needed.  Duct tape
and a plastic bag gives you a mitten that can protect you when you go shopping,
if things get hairy. 

Sheltering inside

dry goods and canned goods and have enough food for a month, just in case.  Make sure you have adequate cleaning
supplies, paper goods and plastic products to get you through this. Buy very
gentle bars of soap and moisturizer, download some movies, buy a scrabble set,
and be prepared for cabin fever.

should use warm to hot water and a hot dryer to kill virus.

Good WHO
guidelines are here: 

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2 years ago

dr muge cevik (@mugecevik) / Twitter

Do you have reliable data out of Italy. 52% of cases are reportedly hospitalized with 10% in icu?

(6) Prof. Dr. Benhur Lee, MD 🦠🧬🔬 on Twitter: "Coronavirus in N.Y.: 2,773 People Are Under Quarantines in City || What a difference 5 days makes. It was 5 days ago that I re-echoed what many of us involved in #SciComm #RiskComm have been saying for a while. Test, ConTrcX, QT! #COVID19nyc #COVID19" / Twitter

2 years ago

Do you suggest clear eye goggles for eye exposure risks?