COVID19: KEEPING YOURSELF SAFE

A guest post written by my beloved husband….

Originally posted on March 16, 2020; updated on March 19, 2020

Avoiding COVID‐19

We are witnessing a rapidly evolving pandemic, that is unpleasantly similar to the plagues of the past, and more like science fiction than the reality we took for granted. In many ways COVID‐19 most resembles the Spanish flu from 100 years ago: it’s mortality rate (currently 3.8% vs 2%), it’s R0 (R-naught = contagiousness; currently 3.1 vs 2.0), and its rapid spread across the world. The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed 650,000 americans and >50 million people worldwide. COVID‐19 is related to two other coronaviruses, SARS and MERS. Like them, it is a biosafety level 3 (BSL‐3) pathogen, that’s now loose and uncontained in the population.

Even a few days ago I heard people minimizing or dismissing the severity of this situation. But, as it became known that 12,000 new cases arose in Italy in the past 48 h, and 370 people died yesterday (Italy has a mortality rate of 7.3 %), that unrealistic viewpoint was replaced by fear and panic. No vaccines or anti‐viral medications exist for MERS, SARS or COVID‐19, so we cannot expect medical intervention to stop the pandemic in the near future. The best person to listen to for advice on how to guard against coronavirus is Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on viral pathogens. Still, I read an article asking for guidance on how to avoid contracting COVID‐19, and so I’m summarizing some practical advice about that. You may not need this input, but I want to provide it in case anyone wants it. My wife Sally and I were trained by excellent microbiologists, from whom we learned procedures that prevent contamination. We use them in our laboratory, and as we watched COVID‐19 progress over the past weeks we made a plan to adapt these methods for our home. We are in a high‐risk group, but with this approach we hope to avoid contracting the virus. Given its very contagious nature, that’s a tall order. What follows below is a step‐by‐step plan for how to change life at home.

1. Prepare disinfectants.Coronaviruses are microscopic particles, invisible to the naked eye, that have an RNA genome within a lipid bilayer membrane that also contains proteins. The membrane makes the virus hardy and protects it outside the host cell.   However, most viruses, including COVID‐19, are susceptible to destruction by bleach or alcohol. The first thing to do at home is to prepare two types of spray bottles, one containing 10% bleach, and one containing 70% alcohol (either isopropanol or ethyl alcohol). If you are not knowledgeable about making such solutions, here’s how to do it. For the bleach solution, mix 1 part CLOROX with 9 parts water. Do not use cheap, off brands of bleach; CHLOROX contains stabilizers that maintain its potency for up to 5 days after dilution in water.  Ordinary bleach loses efficacy within 1 day of dilution in water.  For the 70% alcohol, you can buy bottles of 70% isopropanol in supermarkets or pharmacies. You can also buy EVERCLEAR (it is 95% ethyl alcohol) in a liquor store, and mix 3 parts EVERCLEAR with 1 part water. Isopropanol is also available as a 95% solution, so you can dilute that the same way.  10% bleach, 70% isopropanol or 70% ethyl alcohol inactivate and kill COVID‐19 within a minute of exposure. Put these solutions in 1 qt spray bottles (available at supermarkets, pharmacies and hardware stores) for general use. We also prepare small, 60 mL spray bottles of 70% alcohol to carry in a pocket or purse, and use them to spray down anything that we suspect might be contaminated, including our hands, shopping cart handles, door knobs, gas pump dispensers, etc. You can find these small spray bottles in pharmacies or eye centers, because they are often used to hold eyeglass cleaning solution. Don’t skimp when decontaminating something with bleach or alcohol: give it a thorough coating, until it’s wet with the liquid, then let it sit for at least a minute.

2. Eliminate hand‐to‐mouth contact.When you are in a potentially contaminated environment, whether it’s a public place (grocery store, office, classroom) or in your home, it’s crucial to avoid touching your face. That’s the first priority in the laboratory, but it’s not easy to remember or accomplish. One tip that helps is to think about keeping your hands below the level of your shoulders. If you don’t raise your hands above your shoulders, then you cannot touch your face. Second, maintain a discreet distance from other people, a few feet away. Coronaviruses are quite hardy.  Recent findings (Mar. 17, New England Journal of Medicine) describe the survival of  COVID-19 (also called SARS-Cov-2)  and the related SARS (also called SARS-Cov-1), in the air and on different surfaces: in the air, 3-4 h;  on cardboard, 24 h; on copper, 4 h; on plastic or stainless steel, 2-4 d. Respiratory viruses are present in fluids from the lungs of infected people, but coronaviruses are not airborne… that is, they don’t fly. When they are coughed or sneezed or breathed out in the respiratory droplets of sick people, they have a maximum range of projection of a few feet, before the droplets fall to the floor, a table, or a countertop.  Hence, keep your distance (6 ft) from other people, but especially from anyone who has symptoms of sickness.  A sick person may contaminate others by coughing or sneezing or talking, any of which can project droplets of the virus. But, those droplets fall out of the air in a few minutes, limiting the scope of direct contagion.  On the other hand, a sick person walking through a room touching things leaves a trail of millions of viral particles, that in the case of COVID-19 remain viable and infectious for days.  The head of a pin is large enough to hold 70 million virus particles.  If a sick person walks through a supermarket, even without directly encountering anyone, his or her hands will likely contaminate the shopping cart, that may infect the unlucky 10 – 15 people per day that use it over the next few days, by hand-to-mouth.  Consequently, and perhaps most important, healthy people become infected by touching a contaminated surface, and then touching a mucous membrane (eyes, mouth, nose) without decontaminating their hands.  But, the virus cannot penetrate unbroken skin, so if even you touch an infected surface you can wash your hands or sterilize them with 70% alcohol or 10% bleach to protect yourself. Make a habit of washing your hands with warm soapy water, and when you are out and away from a sink use 70% alcohol to sterilize them.

3. Re‐organize the home environment.At present our city and the university are free of coronavirus, but that will soon change. Now is the time to prepare for a situation in which a percentage of residents are carrying COVID‐19. Yesterday 14% of 1500 people tested in New Rochelle, NY were carrying the virus. Soon, whenever we leave our homes, we will venture into a potentially infectious situation. Besides the possibility of direct contamination, the foods and other items that we bring home are a risk, because they are prepared, packed and shelved by people who we know nothing about, who might be infected or sick with COVID‐19. The mushrooms and broccoli that we cooked last night were from Watsonville and Soledad CA, respectively; today CA reports that 400 of its residents are infected.  At its current growth rate, in a week that number, which is probably a gross underestimate, will rise to >3000. California is just an example; many places that we obtain food and merchandise from have similar levels of infection. Unfortunately, within days or a week people here in town will be infected too. The bottom line is to make your home a sanctuary from any threat of infection by COVID‐19. To do so, we decontaminate things that come into our home. At present these precautions may seem extreme, but we are facing a potentially lethal virus that is unprecedented in recent history. The decisions that we make and the actions that we take are literally life‐and‐death choices. Why take chances with the lives of loved ones?

a. We installed a table in our garage, on which we spray potentially contaminated things with bleach or alcohol, before they enter our home. Most of our foods are packed in plastics anyway, so it’s easy to spray them down. Use your best judgment about what needs decontamination, but anything that was handled by several people should be either cleaned or well‐cooked. Assume that the exterior of anything you purchase might carry particles of live virus.  When shopping, try to use your credit card instead of cash or coins, and spray it with alcohol before putting it back in your wallet.  When you return home from shopping or other errands, leave your shoes in the garage and put on some shoes that never leave the house.

b. Besides the garage, divide your home into different areas, for: incoming unpacking/triage/decontamination, cooking, eating. We have a space in the kitchen to place incoming stuff that we are unsure about. Do not place incoming bags of groceries, packages or mail directly on the countertops used for food preparation. Decontaminate the contents first, and then start cooking. It’s unlikely that COVID-19 will survive during transit in the mail because its survival is much shorter on porous surfaces.  Nevertheless, the people that handled the mail during delivery might be infected, so after opening mail discard the envelopes and packaging and wash your hands.  After shopping, wash and decontaminate your hands, and then unpack, decontaminate and store your items.  Throw the bags away in the trash.  You can spray or soak fresh produce that you want to eat raw (celery, carrots, lettuce, broccoli peppers, etc.) with a dilute solution  of (unscented) CHLOROX (0.75% = 1.5 ts per gallon of water); let it stand for at least 5 min and rinse with water before eating.   After unloading, decontaminating and storing everything, wash your hands again before food preparation.

c. De‐clutter and organize the countertops and tables in your kitchen. To keep your kitchen safe, it’s necessary to frequently and easily clean all these surfaces with bleach or alcohol. Throw away anything unnecessary, store anything decorative, put away everything not in use, and keep counters and the sink clear. In the morning, before cooking, and in the evening before bed, spray the countertops, eating areas and sinks with 10% CLOROX and wipe them down with a clean cloth.  You may want to wipe the countertops with alcohol before using them during the day.

d. Carry a small spray bottle of 70% alcohol in your pocket or purse, and use it to decontaminate anything you are skeptical about: your hands, your steering wheel, your door handles, your computer keyboard, your phone, your keys, shopping cart handles, touchscreens. Liquid/gel hand sanitizers also contain 60‐70% alcohol and they work fine, but they are less penetrating than an alcohol spray, and more difficult to apply to surfaces. 70% alcohol will not damage glass, plastic, metals or your skin. It will dry your skin, so it’s a good idea to also use hand creams to re‐moisturize.

e. Change your clothes regularly and do not re‐wear clothes that you wore outside without washing them. When you leave your home you are entering environments that might contain COVID‐19, and it could get on you clothes when you are working in an office or sitting in a chair. When in doubt, wash it. If you can’t wash it, then hang it in a closet for a week. COVID‐19 does not survive as long on porous surface like fabrics.

f. Don’t go to restaurants, bars, clubs, churches, theaters or any other place where people congregate. Do not invite other people into your home.  Do not go to health clubs or gyms.  Try to do as much as possible electronically from home with your computer or phone. Avoid trips outside the home; shop as infrequently as possible. The next few months will be critical in the fight against this organism. It’s a good time to stay home with the family, to write, read, stream entertainment, watch the news and listen to Dr. Fauci. If you follow these approaches it will maximize the chance of avoiding sickness from the coronavirus.

Additional notes on Mar. 19, 2020

Without a vaccine or an effective anti-viral drug, the only approach left to stop the pandemic is to eliminate person-to-person transmission.  China’s response of complete, militarily enforced quarantine in Hubei province leveled off the incidence and the mortality of the epidemic within 2 months, at a total of 3200 deaths (only 34 new cases, and no deaths reported yesterday).  South Korea took a similar approach.  As a result, the number of new cases in these countries plummeted, and the infection is under control (see the graph below, from today’s New York Times).  Looking at the responses of Italy, Iran, Spain and the US, all of which initially did nothing to contain it, the results are strikingly different: exponential growth of the virus and exponential death of infected individuals, neither of which shows any indication of subsiding.

.

The bottom line is that many, many people are going to die from this pandemic, and the only thing we can do, until vaccines or treatments are available, is to stop transmitting it person-to-person.

P.E. Klebba, Ph.D

83 thoughts on “COVID19: KEEPING YOURSELF SAFE

      • keep in mind it is just a cartoon – the lipid molecules are the green ones, underneath the ones labeled as proteins – in reality, the lipid molecules are very external and the proteins are probably embedded in the lipid layer, not outside from it. Lipids are compounds with dual nature, they have polar (charged) components in one end and a non-polar (no charges, hydrophobic) component in the center – so they normally align to form a membrane, with all the polar components facing outside and the non-polar shielded in the center (the normal depiction is little balls with the sticks representing the non polar regions, so you can see that in the green drawing)

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      • Thank you, there’s a lot of suggestions that I didn’t even think of. I haven’t been able to buy bleach or alcohol because the stores have been all sold out, I don’t want to keep going into the stores to see if they have any, but I really need to buy some.

        Like

    • I saw this comment on a chat room this morning, can you please let us know if this is true or not?
      ” Direct sun UV rays can break the peptide bonds so kill surface germs in 10 min.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, UV will sterilize not just by affecting proteins but DNA or RNA (genomic material) – in the case of coronavirus. I am not sure about the kinetics of it for coronavirus – you can probably assume that a surface exposed to intense sunlight for 10 minutes will be virus-free. It does not mean of course that a sick person talking to a healthy person sitting on a beach and interacting normally will not be able to transmit it.

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    • Thanks to your husband for his sharing his knowledge I’m very confused about one thing I in his adgvice about making spray disinfectant. He writes that you should use (10% bleach, 70% isopropanol or 70% ethyl alcohol inactivate and kill COVID‐19 within a minute of exposure. Put these solutions in 1 qt spray bottles)
      I’ve read that mixing bleach and alcohol is dangerous as it produces chloroform and hydrochloric acid, as well as chloroacetone or dichloroacetone. These compounds can cause damage to the nervous system, lungs, kidneys, liver, eyes, and skin. Please advise.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you, Sally and Phil. Shared in the alumni email distribution list from my fraternity house. As you might imagine, a bunch of nerds from MIT, some of whom are MDs, can cover an awful lot of ground when they get motivated (DIY ventilators and masks have been only a small part of the conversation). Covid19 is a very effective motivator.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for an excellent article. I will certainly change the way I unpack my shopping. I will try and source the ingredients to make my own spray. I’m in the U.K. so hopefully they are easy to find.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for an excellent article. I will certainly change the way I unpack my shopping. I will try and source the ingredients to make my own spray. I’m in the U.K. so hopefully they are easy to find.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for this really well written, well thought out tutorial on how to survive. Like the two of you we are at high risk, particularly my husband who has diabetes. Stay well and we will heed your advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Third, and perhaps most important the main way that healthy people become infected, >99% of the time, is by touching a contaminated surface with their hands, and then touching a mucous membrane (eyes, mouth, nose) without decontaminating their hands”

    I’m not sure that is correct. The CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html says the following:
    The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

    Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

    These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
    It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    Now obviously, this is a rapidly evolving situation and things may have changed since the CDC website was last updated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The advice given on TV quite often by the health experts address hand to face contact as extremely important. For a virus that apparently stays for a long time viable on surfaces hand to mouth contact should be avoided at all costs when in public spaces in pandemic situations. Having said that, you are free to touch your face as often as you like… I won’t be touching mine!

      😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I knew I forgot to address something… 😉 old brain… The current advice given by Fauci et al goes as far as saying that masks will not protect you, they will prevent sick people from spreading the virus (to some extent, of course, assuming they take all other precautions to be “clean”) but you will not be safe for using a mask, one of the reasons being when you wear one, you are often having to touch your face to re-adjust it. I was observing people in the airport and in our plane a couple of days ago (in fact the man sitting next to me was wearing one), and it’s true they kept messing with it. So, that adds more importance to keeping your hands away from the face. Not easy to do, though, amazing how those body parts attract each other 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Gary,

      It’s true that a sick person may contaminate others by coughing or sneezing or talking, any of which can project airborne droplets of the virus. But, those droplets fall out of the air in a few minutes, limiting the scope of direct contagion. A sick person walking through a room touching things, on the other hand, leaves a trail of millions of viral particles, that in the case of COVID-1 remain viable and infectious for over a week. If a sick person walks through a supermarket, even without directly encountering anyone, his or her shopping cart may infect the unlucky 10 – 15 people per day that use it over the next week, by hand-to-mouth contamination. Not to mention the items on the shelf that the sick person touches, but does not buy. Unless a virus is airborne, the primary mode of transmission is hand-to-mouth.

      Phil

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  6. Thank you Phil and thank you Sally for making all of us able to read and follow. As we all I have read dozens of articles on the subject during the past few weeks . . . knowing the breadth of your knowledge yours is SO welcome and will be reposted to friends. We are in unchartered waters but we can fight this sensibly and together . . . best to you both and the pups . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • scary times. I won’t lie to you, I am worried. But we can only do our super very best to try to stay ahead. I think ALL measures are worth taking. In epidemiology you do MORE than you think you might need, you over-react, so that you don’t have a disaster in your hands (as a society).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wondering about mail. How are you handling yours?
    Also, does refrigeration or freezing have any known impact on slowing or killing virus? Thank-you, Colleen

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is believed that surfaces such as cardboard and paper are not that great to keep the virus viable so I even heard one of the epidemiologists experts on TV state clearly that there is no reason to freak about mail – just to keep a routine of actions going, we put everything over “that table” that hosts all we bring from outside, and after we sort it all, we wash our hands. As to refrigeration and even freezing, most viruses stand well to both, once you bring them back to room temperature they are viable – so do not count on that to keep you safe.

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      • Thank-you. You’ve confirmed what I “know.” We have now set up a garage table and handling procedures on your suggestions. We are grateful to you! Colleen

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  9. Thank you fr these guidelines. However, your bleach disinfectant solution recipe does not match that recommended by the CDC. Their recommendation is found on their coronavirus information site and basically says:

    For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

    Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
    Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
    5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
    4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

    Just thought you’d want to know.

    Kathryn

    Liked by 1 person

    • their recommendation is for a slightly more diluted bleach, probably because it would be less harmful to surfaces and still effective – in the lab we always use 10%. It is a bit higher and might be considered “overkill” but I don’t think it matters. You can definitely use their recommendation –

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      • Thank you Sally. Like you, I prefer to err on the side of “overkill”. I made up 10% bleach solutions based on your dear husband’s recommendations. Thank him for me.

        Kathryn

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  10. Thank you very much for the info.

    Question: if you don’t have access to bleach or 70 alcohol- due to people stock Pilling, are there other alternatives? Such as utilizing vinegar or something?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am afraid vinegar will not work the same way – you can use Everclear pretty much as you would alcohol but that’s about it. I will try to find alternatives, if I find I will post here for you

      Liked by 1 person

      • Somewhere I saw Vinegar is not a solution for killing COVID-19 — I thought I saw it on WHO or CDC’s website while it was talking about 70% alcohol and bleach… However the information looks updated and I can’t find that statement again.

        Liked by 1 person

        • so sorry, I forgot to come back and report on this – it is true, vinegar is not strong enough, some reports say malt vinegar could work, but it’s just not worth taking risks, when other things are proven to work

          Liked by 1 person

          • No worries. Thank you for being so helpful to everyone.

            I know COVID-19 is different than the flu — however I have a Nursery Cleaning (Clean Smart) product that states it kills the flu, RSV, Clod, Flu, Strep, listeria, salmonella, E coli, ‘Controls’ mildew mold & athletes foot… However the ingredients are Hypochlorous Acid 0.017% & “other ingredients 99.983%” Would this be effective against COVID-19? also if I could barrow your expertise — is this actually safe to use around newborns and toddlers – even on products they put in their mouth. The claims on the bottle say it’s safe..

            Thank you so much for your time.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I am so sorry, but I have no idea, and would not open my mouth to try and help without being sure… I think that if the package states clearly it is safe it might be ok, but maybe you can call the company? hoping they are still answering phones? or if you can find the product on amazon sometimes you can post a specific question about it and someone might come back with an answer…..

              good luck!

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  11. Thank you. Simple and brilliant. The ignorance in the population is staggering. We made our last finishing touches shopping yesterday, gloves no mask last time. From today complete isolation with may be once a week outing to a small local shop for fresh produce like milk and eggs. Separate clothing and shoes, garage, backyard with large exposed to sunlight table serve as decontamination zone. Phones in disposable freezer bags. We had several trial runs, while it is still reasonably safe, but we entered as a state – Victoria, and country Australia exponential growth. Still no closing of schools, cafe, the second school of thoughts – flatten the curve – to make it easier and manageable for healthcare, makes me sick to my stomach. Let them die at slow pace, while general population develops hers immunity.
    Thank you for your article, it is exactly what is needed. I better make sprays for the house, so far I was using wipes, but they are hard to apply on some produce before you bring it into the house.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sally, I am back with perhaps a dumb question. I wanted to make sure that I understand correctly that 70% alcohol should not be diluted. Thanks to you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Coronavirus Quality Information Links to Follow – Science, Epidemiology, Treatment and Practical Advice – Cooking Without Gluten

    • Yes! The lettuce leaves we remove the outer ones and discard. The tomatoes get washed with soapy water before slicing. Same for cucumbers. I have not used fresh herbs without cooking them in a sauce. Those could be trickier to wash, I suppose

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  14. Thank you Phil and Sally. Excellent advice, simple and concise. I was waiting for your input about the virus.
    I have always washed tomatoes and cucumbers with soapy water and discard the outer leaves of lettuce, washing them one by one. I thought it was just my OCD.
    I will be sharing this article with friends and family.
    KCB (MK)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My thanks to both of you for concise information we can all understand. I’ve shared it–unlike the virus–by email with family and friends. Stay safe. Stay well (and special congratulations to Sally for the baking show Technical win!).

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  16. Thanks so much for posting this, Phil. As a medical technologist (retired 😉), I’d like to throw in a couple of comments. 10% bleach is standard in laboratories, so I’d stick with that since we know how long it takes to kill viruses, whereas a weaker solution may take more time. After wetting a possibly contaminated surface, let it stand for a minimum of 30 seconds before wiping or rinsing. Don’t use paper towels to spread it around until then because the bleach gets broken down in contact with the cellulose in paper. Clorox is specified because it has stabilizers added, so that the solution keeps its strength. We made fresh solution every five days. If all you can get is a supermarket brand, it will need to be made up daily. Only use plain Clorox, not the scented or non splash types.

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    • Thank you so much! I ve been swamped with questions online and it’s good to have your additional input so I can incorporate it all in my exchanges… this article is getting a lot of attention – I told Phil I’ve been blogging for 11 years, never had thousands of hits per day, he writes one blog post and goes viral… (sigh)

      gotta keep a sense of humor, right?

      Like

      • Well, it wouldn’t have gone viral if a lot of people weren’t reading your blog on a regular basis. I’m glad I could be a little help. I was just so happy to see good practical advice on methods to deal with contamination of materials. Using eyeglasses squirt bottles for alcohol is just the ticket.

        Liked by 1 person

        • you are being kind… trust me, I think this influx of people has nothing to do with my blog popularity! 😉 (I wish it had) – I guess it just went thorugh some Facebook venues that got semi-viral (pun not intended)..

          I am trying to stay optimistic and the only way we have to deal with it is being proactive. Doing all we can to avoid becoming a vector of transmission

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  17. Sally, a couple more questions. You may regret posting this with people like me coming back again and again. Would you please tell me the ratio to dilute the 91% alcohol down to 70%?

    Also, do you not spray fresh produce before putting it in the fridge? Such as oranges? I always scrub them with soapy water just prior to cutting them but now I’m concerned about introducing the virus into the fridge. I read or heard somewhere that refrigeration/freezing probably does not kill the virus.

    May your karma come back to you and Phil tenfold for this, if you believe in that. Sending good and thankful vibes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can still do 3 parts alcohol to 1 part water and it will be just slightly less than 70% in the end – alcohol works at a range of dilutions and in this case you get 68% which is pretty close to 70%, probably even within the margin of error of people making dilutions with measuring cups and such available at home

      I am spraying fruit with alcohol 70% once they arrive from the grocery store – but you can wash them with soapy water, same result. Refrigeration does not inactivate the virus, freezing does not inactivate it either – the thing is putting the fruit in the fridge is not going to make the virus multiply, so it will stay on the fruit, and if you wash it before consuming you will be fine.

      ask as many questions as you feel like it, anytime!!!!!

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      • Thank you so much, Sally! I didn’t trust my math to dilute without asking first. I just got home with groceries so this is most helpful. I was stumped with the asparagus but it just occurred to me that it will be cooked.

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    • Gosh, Jeanette I am so sorry but I don’ t know… I have no idea of the concentration of this product and how you would deal with it to use. The only brand I know to be the best is Clorox, because they add stuff that stabilizes the bleach. Other bleach products will be a lot more prone to degradation when diluted and-or exposed to light – that’s why I prefer Clorox, a diluted solution stays good for days. I have zero experience with Pool shock… I will try to find out more about it for you

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  18. Hi – great blog (dreamy macarons too!) I’m a decent astronomer, but a lousy biologist/chemist, so was thrilled to see a scientist’s recs. I was thinking I needed to use bleach more, since I’m finding it much more available, but had no idea the solutions only lasted a day! So for out and about, I’d lean more towards alcohol, but it’s getting very hard to find. One thing I’m fuzzy on is isopropyl vs ethanol vs methanol; I can still find gallons of methanol, but get the sense I might not want to me using that. I’ve used all three in camping stoves, but prefer to carry everclear, since you can always choose between cooking dinner and getting drunk, as appropriate. But I can’t buy that anywhere near me.
    Thanks!
    Philip

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    • Don’t use methanol, it is highly toxic – you can use isopropyl or ethanol interchangeably but no methanol. Everclear works great too, if you can find some in liquor stores

      I long for the day in which macarons will be my number 1 thought! 😉

      Like

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