MYTHS SURROUNDING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
The current coronavirus pandemic has many people contemplating the best ways to stay healthy, safe and prevent the spread of pathogens and infection. During a crisis like this, it’s important to know what the facts are and to dispel misinformation, in order to protect yourself and the people, animals and environment round you.
SURGICAL MASKS WILL PROTECT YOU FROM CORONAVIRUS
A surgical mask's main use is to stop a Doctor’s cough or sneeze from infecting a patient during a medical procedure, not the other way around. They generally do little to nothing to protect the wearer from coronavirus. While it is recommended to wear some sort of mask if you feel symptoms, it is by no means a pass to leave the home or stop practicing other safety precautions, such as social (physical) distancing and hand washing. Self-quarantining is still essential if you show symptoms or have come into contact with someone that has tested positive.
N95 respirators are used by healthcare workers who deal with infected patients and do a better job of protecting the person wearing the mask. If or as available an N95 or higher rated mask is still the preferred option to other masks. Follow CDC's & OSHA regulations and your company's guidelines.
ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP WON’T HELP
There are rumors that say, since COVID-19 is a virus and not a bacterium, and that antibacterial soap will not kill the virus. This is simply not true. According to a professor of chemistry at University of New South Wales, Sydney, “. . .the virus is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and dies, or as we would say, it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive.”
The combination of soapy water and vigorous rubbing will essentially disassemble the virus’ building blocks as well as dissolve the “sticky” part that causes the virus to adhere to human skin. Hand sanitizers (with 60%+ alcohol content) work in a similar way; however, they are nowhere near as reliable as soap and water because they do not guarantee the same amount of hand coverage.
YOU’LL KNOW YOU HAVE IT
COVID-19 is especially insidious because most infected people do not know they have it. The virus has an incubation period of 2 weeks, which means from the time of infection to symptoms actually surfacing, 2 weeks will have already passed. During this incubation period, the infected person is still highly contagious, which is what makes this coronavirus so difficult for officials to track and contain. Some people can even be highly contagious and asymptomatic, meaning they will not show symptoms but are still capable of spreading it to others. This is why self-quarantine is so crucial and why so many industries have either shut down entirely or are implementing remote work policies.
Additionally, the CDC recently reported that the virus can be found on surfaces for up to 17 days after initial contact.
HEAT KILLS THE VIRUS
You may have seen or heard that heat will kill coronavirus. This is not true. While most viruses outside the body can be killed by temperatures exceeding 140F, there is yet no evidence that heat affects COVID-19. Once the virus is inside the body, there is simply no way to kill it. Your immune system has to fight it off.
FLU VACCINES WILL PROTECT YOU
The coronavirus is not the same thing as the flu. It is not a more aggressive form of the flu and it does not behave in any way, shape or form, similar to the flu. The only thing COVID-19 and flu patients have in common are some symptoms.
However, COVID-19 is far deadlier, more contagious, and while vaccinations may be on their way, there is no available vaccine or known cure…yet. It is imperative that you, your employees and family members understand the severity of this virus and the real consequences of ignoring safety precautions.
IT’S NOT DEADLIER THAN THE FLU
The COVID-19 fatality rate so far is many times higher than the flu. Experts estimate that carriers of COVID-19 will infect 2-3 other people, making it twice as contagious as the seasonal flu. Add to it the rapidity of its spread, its ability to overwhelm healthcare systems, shortages on testing kits and medical equipment, and no available vaccine in the immediate future, and we have a virus far more sinister than your average seasonal flu.
Never ingest or inject any form of liquid, and store all cleaning and disinfection products out of the reach of children. If necessary, lock out access.