Creative COVID-19 prevention methods, but do they actually work?

People worldwide are getting inventive with their coronavirus prevention methods.
People worldwide are getting inventive with their coronavirus prevention methods. Copyright Euronews/Twitter
By Jasmin Bauomy
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People are getting creative with their prevention methods against COVID-19. But do these methods actually work?


Since the outbreak of COVID-19, health organisations and governments have been trying to keep a lid on the misinformation of preventive methods.

There is a continuous stream of public announcements to wash your hands, use N95 facemasks if possible, and self-quarantine if you show any symptoms.

A shortage of facemasks paired with the creativity of humankind has led to some very unusual prevention methods worldwide.

Euronews asked virology expert and postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University Sizun Jiang to tell us whether those methods actually work.

1. Plastic bags & buckets

Wuhan residents playing Mahjong

Jiang: This is a sure way to suffocate from the excitement of mahjong, rather than escape the virus.

2. Mouth spray

Jiang: Unless you are spraying straight-up bleach down the throat (please don’t do that), I don’t think this is going to kill any virus. Although more than 60 per cent ethanol is required to disinfect viruses, spraying it down one’s throat is a bad idea.

3. Cigarette holes and eye holes in masks

Jiang: These individuals are probably going to get hurt from tripping because they cannot see where they are going, or dying from lung cancer. On top of that, this defeats the purpose of the facemask entirely.

4. Work in a bubble made of plastic sheets

Jiang: This actually is a good idea to minimise contact and aerosols* from passengers. Still, remember to maintain good hygiene practices in addition to this protective bubble. *Jiang's term refers to a collection of pathogen-laden particles in the air. These aerosol particles can be inhaled.

5. The foot-shake

Jiang: Brilliant way of minimising contact with people, while still maintaining a friendly demeanour.

6. Full body plastic bag

Jiang: Sure way to suffocate or get injured from tripping.

7. Plastic bottles and containers over the head

Jiang: While this container may protect from close-range virus transmission from aerosols, one can still get in contact with the viruses from contamination on hands, or phones and other surfaces that are commonly contacted by the skin.

8. Costumes

Jiang: Creative. Have to make sure there is a good supply of fresh air. And that the supply is well filtered. Not to mention to remember to do full-body decontamination of the suit after use, or it really defeats the purpose.

It could be so simple

Instead of turning to all of these creative prevention methods, Jiang advises to "wash your hands frequently, with soap (ideally) or just running water is fine. Minimise body contact with others, and if you feel any early symptoms e.g. fever, coughing, extreme exhaustion, be responsible and self-quarantine and avoid contact with others. Avoid crowded areas, and do not go crazy with stockpiling everything from the supermarket."

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