Keeping a physical distance of at least 6 feet between people has been the most universally recommended and effective way for slowing the spread of Covid-19, but we can’t stay away from each other forever. What we can do as the economy reopens is try to consistently apply the best known methods for reducing the spread of Covid-19, while still doing business and living life.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) agree on a number of best practices to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus when physical distancing can’t be maintained.
Our top 3 most effective strategies for preventing the spread of Covid-19 are:
- Wearing a mask
- Washing your hands
- Sanitizing surfaces frequently
Consumers want to know what measures your business is taking to keep them safe. Klēn keeps you informed about the protocols being recommended for your industry and enforced in your region, and lets your customers know that you’re on top of taking care of their health and the health of your employees.
Wearing a mask
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, spreads primarily through respiratory droplets that we expel when we speak, sing, sneeze, cough, or even breathe. Prolonged close contact is the most common way to pass the virus between people.
By putting enough space between people, the virus dies or disperses before it can latch on to a new host, which is the basic concept behind social or physical distancing. When distancing isn’t possible, masking up can go a long way towards containing Covid-19.
A cloth mask, made of tightly-woven material in multiple layers and properly fitted over both the nose and mouth, is an effective way to protect yourself and others.
How do masks work against Covid-19?
A proper mask will block the majority of respiratory droplets from passing between people. If someone coughs with a mask on, the mask will catch most of these droplets before they can enter the air. Especially in close quarters, such as restaurant dining, the physical barrier that the mask creates can significantly reduce person-to-person spread.
Face masks with valves are not recommended during the current pandemic. They only protect the wearer because unfiltered air is expelled when the user exhales. This doesn’t protect the public if the user is sick, which is especially important during Covid-19 because patients can be asymptomatic and still spread the virus.
On the effectiveness of masks
Recent findings show that effective masks can be to slow down the spread of Covid-19.
In one case, a gentleman flying from China to Toronto and later tested positive for Covid-19. He had a cough, so he wore a mask on the flight. None of the passengers seated near him later tested positive.
In another mask success story, two Minnesota hair stylists saw 140 customers and came into contact with hundreds of others, and both later tested positive for Covid-19. They and all their customers wore masks, and none of the customers became infected.
As of August 5th, 34 states required masks to be worn in public when social distancing can’t be maintained, which the CDC recommends. OSHA recommends that employees and customers in restaurants, personal service establishments, and other customer-facing businesses wear a face mask.
In a community or normal workplace setting, cloth masks have proven effective for mitigating the risk of spreading or contracting Covid-19. N95 respirator masks are regulated and largely intended for healthcare workers, someone working with chemicals, or for situations where you expect to come into close contact with a sick person.
Washing your hands with soap and water
“Wash your hands like you’ve been chopping jalapeños and you need to change your contact lenses.”
-Austin Ellington, Round Rock, Texas
Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water has proven to be extremely effective at killing viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. With at least 20 seconds of vigorous scrubbing, soap molecules break apart the virus membrane, effectively destabilizing and killing the virus.
Hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol also combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but they don’t work against bacterias (like E.Coli) or certain other viruses, so soap and water is still our best option.
Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces
Surfaces and objects can become fomites, objects that act as intermediaries for the virus that causes Covid-19. High-touch surfaces like dining tables, doorknobs, elevator buttons and light switches, or any object a sick person coughs on, sneezes on, or touches, could host virus particles for varying amounts of time.
Here’s how long the virus tends to survive on different materials:
- Copper – 4 hours
- Cardboard – 24 hours
- Plastic and stainless steel – 3 days
- Wood – 4 days
- Glass – 5 days
You are less likely to contract Covid-19 from a surface than directly from a person, but it’s still a potential path of contagion. Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces frequently can help reduce virus transmission. This important step also gives customers peace of mind, because they can personally observe your business taking steps to ensure their health and safety.
While the novel coronavirus is still circulating, different regions and industries are implementing their own measures and issuing guidance on how to mitigate risks. Klēn can work with you to help your business stay on top of applicable regulations and best measures in your industry, helping you efficiently protect yourself, your staff and your guests from Covid-19.