Hand Washing, Alcohol and The Virus…..

No, this is not another lay perspective on our dance with the Big C, rather a condensed set of facts gleaned from the John’s Hopkins School of Medicine that may help us understand WHY soap and alcohol are the first line of defense against this scourge. We blindly accept or reject the advice we are given relative to this disease and I think a drill down into why they will help us until the vaccine is distributed.

This virus is not a living organism, it is a protein molecule covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat) which when absorbed by the cells in the eyes, nose or mouth changes their genetic code and converts them into aggressor and multiplier cells. Since it is not a living organism it cannot be killed. It has to decay on it’s own, dependent on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lays.

A scourge in all it’s splendor

The virus is fragile. It is protected by the layer of fat which explains why soap and detergent are effective. They dissolve fat. No fat and the virus breaks down. Hot water also breaks down fat, which is why hot water and soap are so effective at attacking the virus. Alcohol, in concentrations of at least 65% dissolves all fat, and is deadly to the fat covering the virus.

No bactericide or antibiotic will touch the virus because it is not a living thing, and antibiotics can’t kill what is not alive. The virus cannot penetrate healthy skin, leaving the mucosa mentioned above as the portals of entry. Whisky won’t work as it seldom approaches 65% alcohol. The virus can survive on inanimate surfaces, which is why you should wash your hands after handling things, ie; knobs, switches and etc. before touching your mouth, eyes and nose.

Masks protect against the dispersal of the micro sized droplets that are exhaled by people infected with the virus. They also are somewhat effective against your spread of the droplets to folks around you. Crowds are bad, for obvious reasons. It is simply a game, where the stakes are high and the odds multiply against you as you are exposed to more people.There is no demonstrated transmission of the virus by food. It requires direct contact with a person who may be bringing your food to the table…back to hand washing and alcohol. It should be apparent by now that distancing is also effective.

Okay, enough. This is why hand washing with soap and the use of plain old alcohol in concentrations above 65% work. I am not a doctor or virologist but I can read. Now we know why the real experts tout soap and alcohol as the first line of defense until we are inoculated.

Have a great week and toss the paranoia. We’ll get through this pretty quickly and can, sometime next year, return to living like American’s like to live. To quote an old political hack from my past…….

You can bet on it!

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