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You may recall just last week sometime (it’s hard to identify specific days now that we have been free wheeling our schedules for over two months) that the CDC issued guidance suggesting that the virus was not that easy to catch from surfaces. Well, now they have apparently issued a “clarification.” So it is pretty much what they were saying before, except that there are lots of variabilities in the likelihood a particular surface is actively contaminated by the time you touch it. Pretty much what we always knew.
Surfaces that facilitate contact contamination is what is referred to as “fomites.” Active virus can adhere to the fingers after contact with fomites and be transferred to the nose, the mouth, the eyes. Some surfaces, such as copper, seem to not permit active virus to survive long. Other surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, counters, paper, and plastic) permit viruses to survive for varying lengths of time. Of course, the time a virus survives is affected not only by the surface material but by temperature and sunlight (specifically UV rays). I recall very early on looking for studies about the length of survival for this particular virus as it informs one of how compulsive one needs to be about cleaning surfaces. I recall a video by a physician in Florida who demonstrated at great length his protocol for bringing groceries into his home — having a sterile side of the counter and a presumed contaminated side, gloving and disinfecting, etc. I remember thinking at the time “if this is what it takes to avoid getting sick, I am well and truly screwed.”
Suffice it to say that contamination control at Casa Rodin has not been compulsive. To the extent I tried to set up a disciplined routine I invariably messed some step up and likely contaminated whatever I was working with. There clearly is a reason for an immune system. So my precautions have been more general and clearly I am playing the odds.
Of course, guidance on contact transfer of the virus is not the only aspect of the epidemic to have changed over the course of the past three months: don’t wear a mask, wear a mask; everyone’s going to die, lots of people get infected but few get ill; the virus is stable, the virus is mutating and weakening, etc. It’s hard to keep up. And after awhile there is a certain virus fatigue.
Are you having trouble keeping up? Are you getting to the point where it doesn’t seem to matter anymore? Are you at the point of “it’s life, let’s just get on with it and deal?”
[Note: Links to all my COVID-19 posts can be found here.]Published in