Everyone has heard about the Coronavirus or Wuhan virus by now and the drug stores and Pharmacies are running out of stock quickly. No face masks and alcohol-sprays or alcogels left on the shelves is a common sight these days. The best bet is to head to less crowded side streets and collect whatever they have left – the epidemic has just begun and China was unable to contain it. Five million people have already left Wuhan for Chinese new year celebrations elsewhere – before the travel ban and shutdown of Whuan went into effect to stop the spread of the coronavirus. This means 5 million potential carriers have already transmitted the disease on many airplanes, surfaces, and places. So what should you do now?
No disinfectants left in your pharmacy?
Calm down. Washing hands the traditional way with soap and water is actually better in many ways. Instead of just killing bacteria and viruses (like 2019-nCoV) with alco-spray or alcogel, washing hands actually removes a lot more including dirt and fungus/bacteria spores, etc. Washing your hands with soap is almost as effective as alcohol-based hand sanitizers. But when it comes to spores and some viruses (nonenveloped) alcohol-based hand disinfectants were not doing a good job according to this study. All ethanol-based hand disinfectants consisting of foam, gel, and wipes have confirmed good effect against the H1N1-type virus which should imply high effectiveness against Coronavirus as well.
Coming directly from the animal realm, probably bats, the coronavirus has not had the opportunity to develop immunity against alcohol. Actually, it is very hard for bacteria and viruses to evolve to immunity against strong alcohol 60%+ because alcohol breaks down the proteins – the building blocks of biological life. The coronavirus would have to develop a thin fatty shell to protect itself or create some kind of spore which viruses don’t do, only some bacteria, parasites and fungus can do this. The combination of washing hands and using hand disinfection is good life insurance – not only against the Coronavirus but against all bio-threats!
Washing hands vs alcohol-sanitizers
“There are important differences between washing hands with soap and water and cleaning them with hand sanitizer. For example, alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t kill ALL types of germs, such as a stomach bug called norovirus, some parasites, and Clostridium difficile, which causes severe diarrhea. Hand sanitizers also may not remove harmful chemicals, such as pesticides and heavy metals like lead. Handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs, pesticides, and metals on hands. Knowing when to clean your hands and which method to use will give you the best chance of preventing sickness.”
Conclusion: You can survive with just soap and clean water and you should wash your hand even if you have anti-bacterial and anti-viral sprays and gels!
Help – drug store out of stock for face masks!
Don’t panic! Masks are more or less useless outdoors anyway. If you could just restrain from touching your eyes and month or anywhere in the face really and keep your distance 1m or more to other people in public places you would be just as safe as with a mask, at least as long as someone is not sneezing directly at you – then a mask would be beneficial.
Strategy for surviving coronavirus
If you want to know how to get through this nightmare epidemic from Wuhan – learn from the best. Someone that has walked without a face mask during the SARS crisis without getting sick! This is how he recommends you survive the Wuhan virus pandemic.