Workplace Cleaning is More Important Than Ever
As we draw into the 5th month of COVID-19, the “deep cleans” are becoming all the rage. Probably not the worst trend that could be sweeping a nation, but this is like all things a response to the growing concern about the disease and stopping it as best we can. National restaurants such as Jack Astor’s are deputizing sanitation chiefs to oversee the needed and constant scrubbing of window ledges, menus, railings, and high chairs. The gym chain Goodlife Fitness is boasting in advertisements that “there’s no surface we won’t sanitize, no machine we won’t scrub.” A bold claim, but one to put client’s minds at ease. Toronto is shutting down its subway system a little bit earlier every night to blast the seats, walls, and poles with a variety of antiseptic tools, including electrostatic disinfectant sprays. Crews equipped with Personal Protective Equipment and their COVID-19 Training utilize everything they can to keep the system sanitized enough for passenger use.
Back in May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA updated its guidelines to clarify that while COVID-19 spreads easily among speakers and sneezers in close encounters, touching a surface “isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” Other scientists have reached a more forceful conclusion. “Surface transmission of COVID-19 is not justified at all by the science,” Emanuel Goldman, a microbiology professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told me. He also emphasized the primacy of airborne person-to-person transmission as well as droplet-based contact transmission.
Quarantine has done wonders in slowing the spread of the disease and limiting the scale of potential devastation. But it’s only as small step forward, as society does till need to function and not everyone can simply wait out the storm. Social and physical distancing is also an important component towards being successful in COVID-19 prevention. But this disasters has largely awakened our spirit of anxiety, inspiring businesses and families to obsess over risk-reduction rituals that make us feel safer but don’t actually do much to reduce risk, even as more dangerous activities are still allowed. Unfortunately, scientists still don’t have a perfect grip on COVID-19—they don’t know where exactly it came from, how exactly to treat it, or how long immunity lasts.
But in the past few months, scientists have converged on a theory of how this disease travels: via air. The disease typically spreads among people through large droplets expelled in sneezes and coughs, or through smaller aerosolized droplets, as from conversations, during which saliva spray can linger in the air. So the notion of deep cleaning your house or business may seem silly, but to an extent, it’s a great idea. Ensure anywhere that could come into contact with droplets is sanitized, make sure your family, coworkers, or clients have access to handwashing or substitute materials (wipes, hand sanitizers, etc.) and always ensure that Surgical or N95 masks are worn when in contact with the public. Safety is paramount and the most important factor in infection control actually being effective. Just remember that cleaning is an ongoing task, especially now, and not something that can be neglected in any regard.
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