Social responsibility and “COVID CleanTM“ are keys to normalcy

I know in many ways, 2020 feels like an endless nightmare we are having a hard time waking up from. It feels like we’ve been stuck in some bizarre state of limbo since March, while the world waits for a vaccine, a life-saving treatment, or a miracle.

But if you really think about it, we haven’t been totally stuck. Things are progressing toward “normal,” albeit maybe not at the rate we’d prefer. In just a few months, the experts have learned a lot about this “novel” coronavirus, the likes of which they’ve never seen or studied before.

For one thing, they’ve figured out we don’t *really* need to suit up in gloves, booties, and hazmat suits to be safe at the grocery store. They’ve also learned that COVID-19 is most likely to be transmitted person-to-person over a 15+ minute exposure through droplets and aerosols that come out of our noses and mouths and fly through the air, ultimately landing in someone else’s nose and/or mouth. (Blech.)

With that knowledge, the CDC now recommends wearing a face mask when going out in public – and frankly, thinking about the grossness of droplets flying into my mouth from someone else’s nose almost makes me want to wear a face mask for the rest of my life.

Pro tip: Think of a mask as a 2020 fashion accessory, and invest in some that you’ll actually want to wear! Those disposable blue masks are so “blah.” But talk about progress: an accessory that did not really exist anywhere in America 6 months ago is now easily found in retail stores. Check out the cute masks at Old Navy, for starters.

So, wearing a face mask is one of the most basic steps toward allowing us to safely shop, work, socialize, and hopefully, get back to school. It’s just one way to be socially responsible. Social responsibility and a spirit of cooperation amongst community members are almost certainly what we are going to need to get back to normal.

Social responsibility also means doing things the CDC has been calling for since day one: staying home when you’re sick; covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow; and social distancing. As we all know by now, that means staying six feet apart from people outside of your household, and avoiding large gatherings.

It might bring a strange sense of comfort to know that this concept of social distancing during a pandemic is nothing new. Even back in William Shakespeare’s day, theatres – including his own Globe Theatre – were frequently closed for many months at a time during outbreaks of the bubonic plague. Somehow, he managed to become the world’s most famous playwright in spite of this. That gives me hope that before too long, we will not only get back to normal, but come back better than before.

Meanwhile, though, there’s something else the CDC has been preaching since day one, and that is the importance of cleaning and disinfecting. Even though it may not be the primary way the virus is spread, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can certainly be transmitted via surfaces, especially if you touch it and then rub your eyes or your nose or your mouth (again: Blech).

I think overall, we’ve always been a pretty clean society, but “COVID Clean” is the new standard we need to strive for if we want to stay healthy.

So, what exactly is COVID Clean?  Well, for one thing, it includes good hygiene. “Hygiene” is a word that always makes me feel… awkward. I guess because it reminds me of health class in junior high, when the hygiene unit covered uncomfortable topics like hormones, body odor, and acne. But from day one, “hygiene” has been a big part of experts’ advice to combat the coronavirus.

That means lots and lots of handwashing, something we’ve all received a crash course in over the past few months… Wash those hands in soap and water for 20 seconds, or as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice, they say. Easy peasy, except at those rest stop sinks with the press-on faucets that shut off before you can even squirt the soap onto your hands (pet peeve!). In that case, and in situations where you can’t use soap and water, hand sanitizer will do.

Pro tip: I love me some lavender-scented hand sanitizer that doesn’t make me feel like I’m just soaking my hands in vodka.

Of course, “COVID Clean” goes beyond our own personal hygiene. It extends to our surroundings and the things we touch every single day.

I was today-years-old when I learned that “cleaning” and “disinfecting” are distinctly different concepts; I’ve always used them interchangeably. According to the CDC, “Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting refers to using chemicals, for example, EPA-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces, AFTER cleaning.”

Immaculate Clean knows the difference, and they offer their clients a “COVID Clean” sanitizing services for high-touch surfaces. This includes cleaning and disinfecting high-touch areas like door knobs, stair railings, small appliances, TV remotes, keyboards, light switches, chair backs, and of course, counter tops.  They use hospital-grade disinfectants, and they’ll do this high-touch service as either a stand-alone service, or as an add-on to your regular cleaning.

To do your own disinfecting in between services, the CDC lists a ton of household disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19, including many familiar brands like Clorox and Lysol.

Here’s what it all boils down to as we are slowly finding our way back to normal life: We don’t have to remain isolated to be safe. We just have to be socially responsible – and COVID Clean!