Oakland, CA — As the coronavirus spreads across the U.S., my daily habits have changed. I still use public transit for my commute. But when I first get to work, I find the nearest sink to wash my hands. Then, I log onto Twitter and read through the Covid-19 tag. After 10 or 15 minutes of scrolling, I’m at the sink again.
For many of us at YR Media, we're not that worried about catching the virus. We are mostly in our teens and twenties, and not in the primary at-risk age demographic.
But we are ALL about our technology — our phones, our laptops, our iPads. And guess what?? The coronavirus could stay on these surfaces for hours or even days at a time, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That’s a pretty scary thought, but don’t panic. Here’s what you should do to lower your risk of getting infected.
Disinfect your gross phone.
Phones carry 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, according to scientists at the University of Arizona. So yes, your phone is actually disgusting.
The CDC recommends disinfecting frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, sinks and toilets. While you definitely should do all that, in reality my phone is actually my most frequently touched object.
When disinfecting and cleaning your phone, you can use a Clorox or alcohol wipe. Before wiping it down, unplug any cables and turn it off first. Then, just avoid getting moisture in any openings. And definitely wipe your phone case!
Wash those hands.
You’ve heard this everywhere. But there’s a reason the CDC recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. It’s been proven effective in preventing the spread of other diseases. So don't even think about touching your phone with unwashed hands.
It gets really boring to count to 20 in my head. So I’ve opted to sing or hum a song in my head — kind of like singing in the shower. The CDC recommends singing “Happy Birthday” twice. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (and its different handwashing versions) is another simple song to make sure you’re killing those germs.
But you’re probably not 5 years old. So thankfully, there are also song generators that will help you get to 20 seconds while singing your favorite songs!
Keep your phone away on your commute.
I’m totally guilty of staring at my phone when I’m on public transit. But actually, you really shouldn’t be doing that. Viral droplets from people's coughs and sneezes can travel several feet and land on your phone. So put it away.
Some other things to keep in mind for your commute is to make sure to wipe down your bag if it touches the floor and avoid touching public surfaces like railings. And once you're off the subway, bus, rideshare — use hand sanitizer.