Note: proper-frequent hand-washing and other public health warnings should be followed, but there exist other significant considerations that can add to those. Several of those, are below, along with links to peer-reviewed scientific papers (and a couple of well-sourced articles from the media and government sources)
H0w masks can help protect you against COVID-19
That means that the overwhelming proliferation of public health warnings that wearing face masks will n0t protect you from contracting COVID-19 are wrong/incomplete.
If you put aside the question of whether masks could filter out the virus (variable from somewhat to not so much even with N95) the fact is that a mask covers up two of the three most important face-touching infection routes: mouth and nose.
However, masks are a physical barrier to that contact, and can be a psychological reminder to avoid eye touching. Wearing glasses is yet another reminder/barrier.
- Face touching: a frequent habit that has implications for hand hygiene.
- A Study Quantifying the Hand-to-Face Contact Rate and Its Potential Application to Predicting Respiratory Tract Infection
- Stop touching my face? Why the easiest way to prevent coronavirus is so hard.
Beware of poop!
While most personal protection warnings have focused on respiratory and facial touching as infection routes, there is solid scientific evidence that fecal contamination should be considered. Proper handwashing is the obvious defense here. The next section offers another precaution.
- Molecular and serological investigation of 2019-nCoV infected patients: implication of multiple shedding routes
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Summary of assumptions
Public restrooms are not your friend
Modern flush toilets and hot air hand dryers can spread bacteria — including e. coli and other fecal germs and viruses. The flushing turns part of the toilet contents into an aerosol which can be breathed in, and also recirculated by the hand dryers.
This would not be as much a problem if a toilet lid were closed before flushing. But almost all public toilets lack lids,
- Aerosol Generation by Modern Flush Toilets
- Aerosol generated from warm-air hand dryers may transmit pathogenic bacteria onto the hands and body of users.deposition by hand dryers is a possible mechanism for spread of infectious bacteria, including spores of potential pathogens if present.
- The public washroom – friend or foe? An observational study of washroom cleanliness combined with microbiological investigation of hand hygiene facilities (Open Access)
- Deposition of Bacteria and Bacterial Spores by Bathroom Hot-Air Hand Dryers
- The potential spread of infection caused by aerosol contamination of surfaces after flushing a domestic toilet
- Potential for aerosolization of Clostridium difficile after flushing toilets: the role of toilet lids in reducing environmental contamination risk
- Viral contamination of aerosol and surfaces through toilet use in health care and other settings
- Lifting the lid on toilet plume aerosol: A literature review with suggestions for future research