Fist bumps instead of handshakes. Knuckles are the new fingers. And watch the gas pump. Those are some of the recommendations from Dr. James Robb, a former professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego who began studying the coronavirus more than 30 years ago.
Fist bumps instead of handshakes. Knuckles are the new fingers. And watch the gas pump.
Those are some of the recommendations from Dr. James Robb, a former professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego who began studying the coronavirus more than 30 years ago. He was the first to map the number of genes the coronavirus contains.
His primary advice is that the virus, now called COVID-19, is a respiratory infection, meaning it is lung specific. By far the most common form of transmission is to touch an infected surface and then touch your mouth or nose.
“The virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means the air will not infect you” unless someone coughs or sneezes directly in your face, he said. “But all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average.”
Those surfaces can include clothing. So that means someone who coughs into their elbow can transfer that virus from their clothing for several days afterward.
And common surgical masks are not such a bad thing – especially when it comes to self-infection. Robb said the masks prevent people from touching their own nose or mouth. “We touch or nose/mouth 90 times a day without knowing,” he said.
Among his other recommendations are latex gloves and hand sanitizer making sure it is at least 60% alcohol to be effective. Use a paper towel to grab the gas pump. And knuckles are preferable to fingers when using touch pads like an ATM machine or a light switch. Elbows or hips are also a great way to open doors. And watch those child seats.
Robb said he expects the virus to likely be widespread in the United States my late March or early April. While most people will suffer relatively mild symptoms similar to the common flu, people who are vulnerable because of some underlying condition – especially a respiratory illness – are at a higher risk.
One of the first outbreaks in the United States was at a nursing home in Kirkland, WA. Already four people who got the disease there have died. All were elderly with pre-existing medical conditions, according to multiple reports.
Rodd added that for people already infected zinc lozenges are a good medication.
“These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx,” he said.