Uncertainty and fear about the hows and whys of the spread of coronavirus has caused worry in all, fear in most, and downright panic in some. Medical and health organizations around the world have been trying to answer these questions since January, if not sooner. However, little information has become available to the general public. And even what does become available is highly uncertain and changes constantly. One of those uncertainties has been how the coronavirus spreads. And, perhaps not surprisingly, what we once were told about how it was spread has changed.
How coronavirus spreads is not what it once seemed.
Up until recently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) stated that “it may be possible” to spread the coronavirus on all kinds of hard surfaces. A study back in March (non-peer reviewed, however) seemed to bolster that theory. Articles galore warned about the dangers of coronavirus surviving for days on plastic and stainless steel. And for hours on cardboard. People around the country have been hoarding Clorox wipes about as much as they hoarded toilet paper. Clorox wipes are now a hot commodity and impossible to find. Frantic grocery shoppers have been meticulously wiping down their fruits, vegetables, and boxed goods with the bleach wipes for weeks. There was even a YouTube video instructing us on how to rid our groceries of the virus by leaving them in the garage for days or washing them religiously (while donning gloves).
Turns out, all that was a giant waste of everyone’s time.
At some point last week, the CDC quietly revised its opinion, now stating that the virus “does not spread easily . . . from touching surfaces or objects.” Although the CDC does not eliminate the possibility that touching a contaminated surface may transmit the virus, they reiterate that “this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
So for all you moms out there meticulously washing groceries, or bleaching every imaginable surface in your home for the past several weeks, put down the Clorox wipes and take a deep breath. You can relax for just a moment, it seems. Enjoy your family instead of worrying incessantly about your kids getting infected from the bag your groceries were delivered in. And thank goodness. Because we already have the weight of the world on our shoulders. Who needs to spend precious minutes, if not hours, of our days, painstakingly scrubbing a potential threat from every item and surface of our home?
Common sense measures, it seems, rule the day.
I, for one, find it frustrating that we are living in a world where fear and panic has ruled the news and the recommendations of our government agencies. I also find it relieving that these same agencies are now (hopefully) beginning to ratchet down the panic and revert to more common-sense measures to combating coronavirus. Things that, quite frankly, many of us were already doing, to begin with. Things like washing our hands. And staying home if we’re sick. And routinely (not obsessively) cleaning frequently touched surfaces with soap and water.
I suppose, in a sense, if you’ve spent countless hours Clorox-ing the you-know-what out of the surfaces of your home (or anywhere else you’ve been), it was not all for naught. After all, you were doing what you thought was best to protect your family. And what mother wouldn’t? None of us, not even our health agencies, it appears, really has any answers to this coronavirus yet. All any of us can do is prepare, protect, and persevere until the uncertainties can finally be resolved.
But for now, mamas, take a break. Set down the Clorox wipes, grab a glass of wine, and just breathe. You are doing a good job.