The World Health Organization (WHO) says that washing hands and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily prevents the spread of the virus.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that health workers wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect. Surfaces must be cleaned first by using soap and water, followed by cleaning with a disinfectant. Cleaning with soap and water reduces the number of germs, dirt and impurities on the surface. The disinfectant kills germs on surfaces.
“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes,” the CDC says.
The Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety states that “influenza viruses can be transmitted by indirect contact by touching a contaminated object or surface and then touching your own mouth, eyes or nose before washing your hands.” It also indicates that flu viruses on such surfaces can remain “infective for two hours and maybe up to eight hours.”
Majority of COVID-19 transmissions occur from direct person-to-person contact. That is, according to a forbes.com article, “an infectious person coughs, sneezes, pants, sings, chants, curses or otherwise breathes out virus-laden respiratory droplets, which then are inhaled by someone else.”
The bbc.com reports that coronaviruses “can be inactivated within a minute” by disinfecting surfaces with 62-71 percent alcohol, or 0.5 percent hydrogen peroxide bleach or household bleach containing 0.1 percent sodium hypochlorite.
It says that “higher temperatures and humidity also tend to result in other coronaviruses dying quicker.” Ultraviolet light can also be used to disinfect some surfaces but is not recommended for use on human skin.
On the other hand, the coronavirus doesn’t seem to spread through food. “Seem” is the word here because science-based knowledge is continually evolving, and there are a lot of things we have to learn about this particular virus.
And it hasn’t been found in drinking water. Your tap water is safe because the filters and disinfectants in water treatment plants should eliminate bacteria and viruses.
WHO has issued guidelines (https://www.who.int/publications-detail/cleaning-and-disinfection-of-environmental-surfaces-inthe-context-of-covid-19) on disinfecting protocols.
The documents provide guidance on the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces in the context of COVID-19. It is intended for health care professionals, public health professionals and health authorities that are developing and implementing policies and standard operating procedures on the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.
For workplaces, the CDC recommends compliance with the protocols from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Here we have the Department of Labor and Employment’s Occupation Safety and Health Center (O.S.H.C. – Home). We suggest that work places check it out.
Dr. Joseph D. Lim is the former Associate Dean of the UE College of Dentistry, former Dean of the College of Dentistry, National University, past president and honorary fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy, and honorary fellow of the Japan College of Oral Implantologists. Honorary Life Member of Thai Association of Dental Implantology. For questions on dental health, e-mail email@example.com or text 0917-859151./WDJ