The coronavirus doesn’t care who you are, John Doe in Iowa, Jane Doe in Ireland, Tom Hanks in Hollywood, or the President of the United States of America.
COVID-19 grants infection immunity to no one.
“Tonight, (the First Lady) and I tested positive for COVID-19,” President Donald Trump tweeted.
As we learned Friday, October 2, absolutely no one is safe from the coronavirus, not even the leader of the free world, unless we do everything we can to keep ourselves safe. Wherever we go, whatever we do, whoever we meet, we must be prepared for the possibility of COVID-19 being present.
There has arguably never been a more important Global Handwashing Day than this year’s observation of the global call to handwashing on Thursday, October 15. No matter how much attention to detail we personally give our handwashing habits, there’s no better time to double down on our personal hand hygiene habits. For with the invisible threat of a global pandemic lurking seemingly everywhere, we must ensure we are personally doing everything we can to keep ourselves COVID-19 free, for ourselves, our family, our neighbors, community and country.
This year’s theme of Global Handwashing Day is a timely call to “Wash Coronavirus Away.”
“The global pandemic has really shone a light on the importance of handwashing, meaning this day now carries extra relevance,” National Today notes.
This year’s GHD tag line is just as relevant: “Clean Hands: A Recipe for Health.”
“Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness … that can spread from person to person contact, both through direct contact with surfaces contaminated with infected viral droplets,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes. “Viral droplets are ejected from the mouth or nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.”
Social distancing and wearing a mask in public are must COVID-19 prevention methods, but handwashing after coming into contact with a potentially infected person, is our best immediate front-line defense when exposed this lethal viral killer. The vicious virus has already claimed more than a million lives worldwide, including a confirmed 215,000 Americans and counting.
“Handwashing with soap after any contact with a potentially infected person, surface, or object is an effective method to help protect yourself and others from infection,” the Global Handwashing Partnership stresses. “Handwashing with soap washes the infection-causing germs off your hands before they get a chance to infect you, and before you touch surfaces that could help spread these infection causing germs to other people.
“With still no vaccine available, the world’s top public health officials continue to emphasize handwashing with soap as a frontline defense during outbreaks, such as coronavirus.”
Because we can’t emphasize them enough, here are the World Health Organization’s Recommended Frontline Hand Hygiene Measures to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and at key times such as before and after meals, using the restroom and whenever entering a public venue such as a store, church, school or hospital or healthcare center
- Use alcohol-based handrub if water and soap are not available
- Minimize contact with potentially contaminated surfaces
Remember, soap extinguishes COVID-19 like no other available prevention method.
“Soap molecules disrupt the fatty layer or coat surrounding the virus,” Dr. David Goldberg, an internist and infectious disease specialist at New York-Presbyterian Medical Group and professor of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, told Health Matters. “Once the viral coat is broken down, the virus is no longer able to function.”
As Think Global Health notes, handwashing can prevent up to 55 percent of respiratory infections. The BBC calls regular handwashing a “silver bullet against coronavirus infection.”
COVID-19 can understandably make us all feel helpless, but remember, a major key to safety is in our hands.
Today in America, there is no more dangerous respiratory infection that COVID-19 and no better, more proven frontline defense than handwashing. This Global Handwashing Day, let’s “Wash Coronavirus Away” for ourselves, our family, our neighbors, community and country.