In moments of crisis, the world needs a hero.
Dressed in grey scrubs, the color that is reminiscent of a suit of armor, our hero of the coronavirus pandemic is Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, a physician from Michigan who made an instructional video about keeping your home coronavirus-free after a trip to the grocery store.
As much as we love a man in uniform, let’s not lose sight of the message here. Dr. VanWingen is nailing home the point that so many Earthlings have missed: it doesn’t matter if you wear a face mask outside, or gloves while shopping, or blow a hairdryer up your nose to kill the virus (don’t do that!). This coronavirus is mainly transmitted when an infected person has the virus on their hands, and they touch something and leave the virus on those surfaces. Then a healthy person comes along, touches those surfaces, and picks up the virus and brings it on a fun ride, eventually into that healthy person’s respiratory system.
The prime culprits are items that lots of people touch. For example, food in a grocery store. The keypad on the credit card machine in a grocery store. Grocery bags brought home from a grocery store.
Let’s be very clear: grocery stores are not the enemy. On the contrary, fresh food is vital for a healthy immune system, as well as psychological health. That box of chicken fingers in your freezer, which you bought while panic shopping last week, is not necessarily the most nutritious choice for dinner. And with all of this spare time while self-isolating at home, this is a great time to cook some delicious, fresh food.
But bringing home groceries is surprisingly risky for infection.
For example, shoppers may think they are protecting themselves by wearing plastic gloves while in a grocery store. Maybe those shoppers will even wear plastic gloves at home while putting their groceries away. But if a box of cereal has traces of coronavirus on it, and you take the box out of the shopping bag and put it in a kitchen cabinet? If you opened the cabinet door with that same gloved hand, now the cabinet door has coronavirus on it. So does the shelf in the cabinet. And the next morning, you may forget about wearing gloves when you take out that box of cereal to pour some for breakfast, so now it is on your hands. Plus you probably put that box of cereal down on your kitchen table, and spread the coronavirus there too.
It is a bewildering, exhausting thought process.
The best thing to do is make sure items from the grocery store are not contaminated. And that’s what Dr. VanWingen is here to teach us.