3 Common Mistakes Many People Make Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

As states begin to slowly reopen, it is a good idea to continue practicing what should normally be done under quarantine or lockdown orders. These include wearing a face mask and practicing physical distancing away from people outside your own household. Of course, however, thinking that you have been doing these is not enough. For instance, how you wear your mask matters just as much as the mere thought of wearing it.

Psychology Today has listed 3 of the common mistakes many people make amid the coronavirus outbreak:

Mistakes In Wearing Face Masks 

Whether you are going out for a walk or to go grocery shopping, pay attention to how people wear their face masks:

  • Some people's face masks cover only their mouths, but not their nose. 
  • Some use surgical face masks, but do not know that there is a little metal part at the top that needs to be pinched to mold the nose's top and prevent the mask from falling. 
  • Some touch the front of the mask (which is a contaminated area) with their fingers (which should stay clean) to readjust it before touch cleaning things. 

So wear your face mask over your nose and mouth, pinch the little metal piece surrounding your nose to make it fit tightly, and even if you are bothered, do not touch the front of the mask. To take your mask off, grab the elastic around your ears. 

Mistakes In Wearing Gloves 

Just because you see employees in shops wear gloves does not mean you are fully protected.

When going to a shop or restaurant, pay attention to what the gloved employee either is doing or gives to you. You might not know if the item/s, food or change the employees give to you are dirty or if they have not changed or disinfected their gloves yet. 

So if you assume that because the employee is wearing gloves, what is given to you is free of germs, you are probably mistaken. Employees with gloves can be as contaminated as those without gloves. So if you are wearing gloves and happen to touch potentially contaminated items, use a hydro-alcoholic gel to disinfect your gloves before touching clean items.

Thinking That Face Masks Eliminate Need Of Social Distancing 

Most face masks worn by the public are not airtight, allowing air to leak in and out and virus-carrying droplets to go in and out through the openings. 

A South Korean study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that if four people cough wearing a surgical or homemade mask (except for N95 masks which are airtight), viruses can still be found in the air around them and on the face masks' outer layers. So even with masks on, physical distancing still needs to be practiced especially in closed spaces. 

"The only safe assumption as long as there is one case of COVID-19 in your community or near your community, is that you need to consider that everybody you meet is infected with COVID-19," William Haseltine, former Harvard professor and founder of the university's cancer and HIV/AIDS departments, told Reuters via video interview.

He mentioned that the risk of being infected by COVID-19 in an enclosed space increases the more time one spent there, the more people who are in that space, the closer the people are to one another even with the face masks on and the more people who are in the room without a mask on. He has an equation that calculates the probability of getting infected: 

Probability of infection = (time/distance) x (number of people) x (number of people without masks)

Enclosed spaces include restaurants, stores, theaters, elevators and public transport vehicles, among others.

Social Distancing Social distancing sign in London. GoToVan/flickr

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