Covid-19: Things I'm Doing Differently

post by jefftk (jkaufman) · 2020-03-05T01:40:02.214Z · score: 38 (20 votes) · LW · GW · 8 comments

The coronavirus is now spreading through multiple communities, and while there isn't yet evidence of it in Boston I expect there will be soon. Because of the long incubation period and large testing delays it may already be here. Here are things I've started doing differently:

On the other hand, there are major things I/we aren't doing, at least not yet.

There's still a lot of variability here, and it could be both much better or much worse than we're expecting. I'm interested in thoughts from others about places where this is under- or over-cautious, and about other ideas for how to help reduce spread.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by steve2152 · 2020-03-05T13:58:56.205Z · score: 13 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have a lot of overlap with you—washing hands at the times you mention (my routine [LW(p) · GW(p)]), not shaking hands, not touching shared surfaces in public. I also finally quit biting my nails [LW(p) · GW(p)] and am doing intense cardio workouts like my life depends on it [LW(p) · GW(p)] (interspersed with rest days), and got a UV cellphone sterilization thingie, and am taking Vitamin D, which my physician told me to do a while ago anyway. And I bought some supplies to make it easier to work from home.

I think preventing disease transmission within my family is a lost cause; my 1yo sneezes at my face all the time, my 5yo is unable to stop touching his face and then everything else. (In the other direction, reducing adult-to-kid transmission is lower-priority because COVID-19 appears to be roughly zero risk for kids their ages. Still, I wouldn't cough in their faces!) So within the house, we're just doing little things like changing clothes & hand-towels more frequently, and washing hands before meals. We're not copper-taping doorknobs or bleaching surfaces or anything like that. (NB: I don't have a lot of house guests like you.)

I'm also continuing to go to work and send kids to school. The decision-relevant consideration for me is whether we're within 3 weeks of the local hospitals getting overwhelmed—I figure that's when my personal demographic-adjusted fatality risk shoots up from a reasonable 0.1%ish to a pretty scary 2%ish [LW(p) · GW(p)]. I don't know when we're going to cross that threshold, but I don't think we're there yet. (As of this writing, March 5.) (Note that exponential growth means I shouldn't trust my intuitions; I need to think about this more carefully...) For my high-risk-factor family and friends, I've been encouraging them to avoid crowded public places etc. starting now; even with a functioning hospital system, I'm not happy about their risk.

(ETA: First-cut analysis here [LW(p) · GW(p)]; I think I'm not going to go too crazy with social distancing at least until there are 100 people in my state being hospitalized for COVID-19 ... by which point the schools may well be closed etc. anyway.)

comment by khafra · 2020-03-05T16:26:40.233Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is there any minimally-weird, non-awkward way to handle public door handles and buttons? Using your sleeve is terrible, because you don't wash your sleeve several times a day, and the virus can survive until your next clothing wash. Some sort of small but sturdy copper/bronze manipulator that could be put in a copper-lined case in your pocket, maybe?

comment by ChristianKl · 2020-03-07T09:50:47.665Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wrapped copper tape around a 15 cm wood stick for this purpose. Gloves are also useful.

comment by gwillen · 2020-03-06T23:40:39.753Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You can use a paper towel (in the bathroom) or a tissue if you have a nearby source of them. I think using your sleeve (for door handles) or your knuckle (for buttons) is still better than using your hand, because you are much less likely to use your knuckle/sleeve to later touch your face / keyboard / phone. (However, using your hand seems better than using your sleeve if you are about to wash or sanitize your hands.)

comment by DanielFilan · 2020-03-05T18:52:05.581Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I feel pretty OK pushing buttons with my knuckles.

comment by khafra · 2020-03-12T12:51:12.995Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I considered that, but I touch all kinds of surfaces that are 0-2 degrees separate from my mucous membranes with my knuckles: the insides of my pockets, the palm of my other hand, my chin, etc.

comment by EGI · 2020-03-06T19:58:42.020Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You could just use your hands and wash/desinfect afterwards before touching your face. The virus cannot penetrate your skin and even lacerations are probably safe, since the target cells are in your nose/lungs.

comment by cousin_it · 2020-03-06T09:49:13.123Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just thought of this idea: carry a box of disinfectant wipes everywhere, and whenever you want to touch a surface that's touched by many people (handrail, door handle, elevator button, touchscreen kiosk...) give it a quick wipe-down first. That protects you, helps protect other people, shows them how to do the same, and also disinfects your hands many times a day. Any problems with this? If it's a good idea, how do we make it catch on?

comment by TheMajor · 2020-03-05T14:32:07.032Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not much to add, just wanted to say thanks for sharing, and I have a lot of overlap with you too (washing hands often, copper on doorknobs/fridge handles/back of phone/other surfaces, not shaking hands in public and more).