When “Karen” tells me “I follow science”, I’ve taken to silently appending, often (but by no means always) in my mind, “you absorbed a CDC announcement a little over a year ago”.
The people maniacally scrubbing surfaces? As re Covid, it’s largely a wasted effort.
Via the Atlantic, which nearly along among periodicals has done a good job of actual journalism as re public health:
Whenever I’ve written about hygiene theater, some people have responded with the same objection: “Hey, what’s the matter with washing our hands?” That’s an easy one: Absolutely nothing. “Pandemic or no pandemic, you should wash your hands, especially after you prepare food, go to the bathroom,” or touch something yucky, Goldman said.
But hygiene theater carries with it an immense opportunity cost. Too many institutions spend scarce funds or sacrifice scarce resources to do microbial battle against fomites that don’t pose a real threat. This is especially true of cash-strapped urban-transit authorities and school districts that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on soap technology rather than their central task of transporting and teaching people.
Hygiene theater also muddles the public-health message. If you tell people, “This disease is on surfaces, on your clothes, on your hands, on your face, and also in the air,” they will react in a scattered and scared way. But if you tell people the truth—this virus doesn’t do very well on surfaces, so you should focus on ventilation—they can protect themselves against what matters.
Of course, if you read this blog (and, to be fair, this blog’s citing of writers in The Atlantic), you had a solid hunch about this nearly a year ago.