The novel coronavirus can remain on surfaces like elevator buttons for up to five days. TUCHONG
There is probably nothing scarier than fighting an enemy that you cannot see. The novel coronavirus is one of these invisible enemies, and it has done quite a bit of damage. Ever since it was first spotted in Wuhan, Hubei in December, it has infected more than 44,000 people in China and other places in the world. As of Feb 11, 1,113 people were reported killed in China.
But even if we cannot see the virus, we know how it behaves and spreads around, which is just like most other viruses. “The number one thing you can do to prevent any respiratory illness is to practice good personal hygiene,” Tom Moorcroft, co-founder of Origins Of Health, a US-based health center, told CNET. And that includes wearing a mask and washing hands.
By wearing a mask, you keep yourself away from the droplets coughed and sneezed by infected people. These droplets can spread the virus – as far as two meters!
But these droplets don’t stay in the air for long before falling and landing on surfaces, like tables or smartphones. They can also be transmitted to elevator buttons and door knobs by our hands. And here is where washing hands becomes crucial, because, according to Jiang Rongmeng, a member of China’s National Health Commission expert group, the novel coronavirus can stay alive for quite a long time on smooth surfaces.
“Given the right temperature – around 20 C, and the right humidity – around 50 percent, they might even stay alive for up to five days,” Jiang said in a news conference on Feb 4.
“如果温度、湿度合适 —— 比如说20度的环境，湿度50%，它们可以存活达到五天，” 蒋荣猛在2月4日的一场新闻发布会上如此表示。
A new discovery about the virus makes it even more necessary to keep these hygienic habits even if you don’t think you’ve interacted with anyone infected. According to People’s Daily, there is evidence that the virus might be contagious even before patients start showing symptoms. “The consequence is that there are no public health means to sort out or to identify people at risk of transmitting, because they don’t even know that they’re ill yet,” Gerard Krause, head of the Department for Epidemiology at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection in Germany, told Al Jazeera.
Indeed, infectious diseases can be scary. But if there is anything positive that we can take away from this epidemic, it’s that we’ve developed better hygienic habits. After all, washing our hands is actually what we should be doing every day.
传染性疾病确实很可怕。但这次疫情还是给我们带来了积极的变化 —— 大家都养成了更好的卫生习惯。毕竟，洗手正是我们每天都应该做到的事。