- 1 What we know about Coronavirus in 2021
- 1.1 How many mutations exist of coronavirus?
- 1.2 Is Coronavirus acting similar to the flu?
- 1.3 How to protect yourself from Coronavirus?
- 1.4 Should I wear a mask?
- 1.5 Is washing hands really necessary?
- 1.6 What if I’ve been exposed?
- 1.7 How long can SARS-CoV-2 can live on a surfaces?
- 1.8 Which disinfectants are the best to use?
Just over a year ago, talk of this coming virus started to appear in news headlines across America. There was a lot we didn’t know at the time, but as we learn more, we are able to adapt and apply that knowledge in keeping our communities a bit safer.
Below is a compendium of what we learned over the past year.
There are dozens of mutations of coronavirus.
This is normal for viruses like this. The virus will adapt and evolve to survive. A great example of this is influenza. Drug manufacturers are always updating their flu vaccine to keep up with these changes. Thankfully the two approved vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are proven to be effective against all known mutations, to date.
Coronavirus is beginning to act like the flu.
It’s trending more and more that coronavirus is looking like influenza, in that it’ll settle into seasons for at least the short term. It’s possible that we’ll need annual vaccine shots.
“Protect Your Holes”
Back in August, we attended a Global Biorisk Advisory Council training in Baltimore. The two reps for GBAC were also former employees for the CDC. The common theme for that event was “protect your holes”, in that the virus can be transmitted into the mouth, nose, eyes, ears, and even open cuts, as well as through pregnancy and sexual activity.
Should I wear a mask?
We all learned the value of wearing a mask. The #1 source of transmission is through close contact. That’s why we need to remain 6 feet apart. However, multiple studies have shown that aerosolized droplets can remain suspended for 30 minutes or longer. While this is a minor source of infection, it’s best to keep that distance six feet and greater. Make sure your mask is fitted well. If you can insert the tip of the pencil into the sides of it, then the virus can go into it too. If the front of the mask at your mouth is damp due to spit or condensation, then the virus can enter through there too. Get a good double-filtered mask.
Is washing hands really necessary?
Ok, you’re wearing a mask, but you touch the bag after your potentially COVID positive food delivery person dropped off dinner and now your french fry or hamburger has the virus, and you’re eating it. Congrats, you could get sick. Always wash your hands. If you are reading this and I tell you to never scratch your face, rub your eyes, or put your hands in your mouth, you’ll begin to think about it. In fact, your face is itching right now. What are you going to do? Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with warm water and soap. Your life could depend on it. [COVID Cleaning & Disinfecting Guide]
What if I’ve been exposed?
If you’ve been exposed, don’t panic!
Roughly 20% of Americans have COVID antibodies as of this post. Roughly half of those didn’t even realize they had the virus; they were asymptomatic. The other half faced varying symptoms. Be familiar with them all. Be in tune with your body. Keep a log of how you are feeling, who you were with, and your temperature so that you can help your medical professional with the right course of treatment. Create a game plan to keep yourself quarantined, including within your own home, and create a plan to get tested if symptoms persist.
How long can SARS-CoV-2 can live on a surfaces?
SARS-CoV-2 can live on surfaces for up to 28 days!
There are studies out there that test for the survivability rate of the virus on different surfaces in different conditions. One study showed a survivability of 28 days on surfaces like vinyl, glass, and cotton with perfect conditions. A step backwards, studies from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan found live virus samples 14 days after the last person disembarked. Despite these, most of the time it will die within hours to a few days, depending on the surface. Also, the virus has a half-life of sorts in that it’s probability of incubating in a new host decreases exponentially as it is exposed to the elements. A disinfecting plan is critical to have for your facility.
Which disinfectants are the best to use?
Use a List N Disinfectant Properly.
The CDC issues guidelines. Disinfecting is simple: 1) preclean the surface (always, always do that), and 2) disinfect using an EPA-approved List N disinfectant. There are well over 500 List N disinfectants to choose from. Read the label. Look at the List N tool. Some disinfectants need to remain wet only for a few seconds. Some need to remain wet for 10 minutes or more. If you follow the label, you have a disinfected surface. [EPA Adds Disinfectants For Electrostatic Spraying to List-N]