I’m taking the liberty of reposting what I think is a useful set of considerations – from an expert – that go beyond just washing your hands.
“American pathologist James Robb was one of the first molecular virologists to study coronaviruses in the 1970s. He sent this email to family and friends about how he’s preparing for the spread of COVID-19.
Here is what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves:
- NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.
- Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
- Open doors with your closed fist or hip — do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.
- Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
- Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitiser whenever you return home from any activity that involves locations where other people have been.
- Keep a bottle of sanitiser available at each of your home’s entrances and in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.
- If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!
What I have stocked in preparation
- Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activities when you come in contact with contaminated areas.
Note: this virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average — everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious.
The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs). The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze on to or in to your nose or mouth.
- Stock up now with disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose and mouth 90 times a day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you — it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth — it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.
- Stock up now with hand sanitisers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitisers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.
- Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel any “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-EEZE lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available.
I, as many others do, hope that this pandemic will be reasonably contained, BUT I personally do not think it will be. Humans have never seen this snake-associated virus before and have no internal defence against it.
Tremendous worldwide efforts are being made to understand the molecular and clinical virology of this virus. Unbelievable molecular knowledge about the genomics, structure, and virulence of this virus has already been achieved. But there will be no drugs or vaccines available this year to protect us or limit the infection within us. Only symptomatic support is available.
I hope these personal thoughts will be helpful during this potentially catastrophic pandemic. You are welcome to share this email. Good luck to all of us!
Dr James Robb is a virologist and pathologist. He studied coronaviruses while a professor of pathology at the University of California, San Diego, in the late 1970s.“