US government urged to learn virus fighting experience from others, with citizens to develop hygiene practice common sense
Published: Mar 28, 2020 02:43 PM

A woman wearing a facial mask poses for a photo on Times Square in New York City, the United States, March 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

Believably those in the US still have no clue on the defense mechanism against the deadly COVID-19 outbreak due to a lack of effective guidance from local health authorities. Along with its global ravage, the pandemic is causing havoc in the US with 104,007 confirmed cases and 1,581 deaths as of Saturday noon [Beijing time], topping globally. 

Yao Maosheng, a bioaerosol study expert and professor at the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in Peking University, Beijing, has offered some valuable tips on virus prevention, in an exclusive interview with the Global Times on Saturday. He highlighted the necessity of the US government to learn and emulate experiences from others, adding that personal hygiene is crucial in "building a wall to fend off the virus together." 

"It is very valuable that people or government currently hit hard by the crisis seek advice from those regions that have already had the pandemic under the control via video conference (this is actually ongoing). Experience makes a difference," said Yao, who has been closely following the pandemic,  while noting that "Under the coronavirus pandemic, it is very practical that everybody especially in regions hit hard by the pandemic tries very possible manners to adopt a digital life, self-isolating plus working at home. This would not only avoid the risk of infection, but also help fight against the spread, and it is like building a wall by everybody together against the virus."

Yao also pointed out that "If you are not comfortable of wearing a respiratory mask, try to get some medical cotton stacked into your nose by an amount that does not prevent you from good breathing."

This invisible "nose mask" would pretty much prevent droplet transmission, or at least significantly reduce the exposure dose, which might turn out to be a yes or no with respect to coronavirus infection. The cotton "nose mask" can be discarded when you finish shopping or other things that involve meeting the people or entering high risk areas such as enclosed or semi-enclosed environments. If you are wearing a respiratory mask, this "nose mask" can provide additional protection against the inhalation of the coronavirus, the expert said.

The expert also offered tips based on what we know about the transmission route of the disease, saying "give your room adequate ventilation, and bring in sunshine as much as possible. It is believed that the coronavirus will die out under sunshine. For those living in apartment buildings, it is essential that any toilet openings should be closed if not to be used, and keep your hands off any surfaces of public infrastructures."

"If you went to a public place or hospital, watch your shoes and it is advised that you clean your shoes outside your home or do not bring home the shoes you used for outside trips to minimize the risk," Yao said.

During the isolating time, the only risk of infection is shopping for food and home supplies. For this risk, it is a good practice that you try to keep a distance away from any one that is not living with you including your friends and other family members. Wash your vegetables thoroughly, he said. 

Yao also leaves a special note for those pet owners, by stressing that "if you got a dog, please protect the dog the same way as protecting you. The dog can be also infected given conditions available, and if this happens, it could facilitate the cross infection to humans."

"The best and trustable defense against the coronavirus is yourself. You might try to keep yourself under best conditions, including good sleep, good nutrients and good mood, to fight off the infection," he concluded.