Learning to live with COVID-19
As the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus continues to sweep through the world, many are grappling with something nobody was hoping for: COVID-19 is likely here to stay.
An endemic instead of a pandemic
At the start of the pandemic, many medical professionals warned that the novel coronavirus could become endemic, much like the influenza virus. Unlike a pandemic, an endemic is a disease that never really goes away, but behaves and spreads in predictable ways. Many endemic viruses, like the seasonal flu, are constantly mutating – that’s why you have to get a new flu shot every year. Some experts believe it will be impossible for the world to reach herd immunity for COVID-19 – this may be partially due to the rise in new strains like the Delta variant and partially to low vaccination rates.
So what can we do?
Luckily, it’s not all bleak. Even if the novel coronavirus is here to stay, it likely won’t remain as deadly over time. But the current Delta variant is certainly a cause for concern, especially since it’s more than twice as contagious as previous variants. Nobody wants a repeat of early 2020, but we should all be taking precautions to keep each other safe. By now, we have several tools at our disposal to keep people and environments as safe as possible.
What you can do
The CDC recommends getting vaccinated as a primary defense against COVID-19. It’s also recommending masks for everyone, even vaccinated people, to help slow transmission. Even simple acts such as washing your hands often and not touching your face can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Businesses may be especially nervous about the threat of the Delta variant. While the statewide closures we saw in 2020 are less likely, patrons may not feel as safe shopping, dining inside or going to events. Now is not the time to retire your pandemic response protocols. The Delta variant should be proof that masks, social distancing and thorough cleaning procedures were not just a temporary thing.
The CDC says that “If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in your facility within the last 24 hours, you should clean AND disinfect the space.”
The problem is that unless you ask every patron for their negative COVID test before entering, you have no idea if someone is infected – and you can’t rely on contact tracing to let you know. The better solution is to plan in advance by asking everyone to take precautions and disinfect areas thoroughly, especially high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, handrails and elevator buttons. The last thing you want is to be the site of a major outbreak.
But thorough disinfecting takes time – time you and your staff don’t have. It’s also often ineffective, especially if you’re relying on spray bottles and rags that just smear germs around. Just like masks and vaccines are tools to keep people safe, there are new tools to help you keep spaces disinfected, without needing hours of difficult manual labor.
Bigger problems require better tools
Electrostatic sprayers are the new standard for disinfecting. They can coat hundreds of square feet in just minutes, they’re compatible with any water-based chemical, and they’re easy for anyone to use. Just point and spray, and you’ll immediately get even, far-reaching chemical coverage. The electrostatic technology even helps chemical particles wrap around curved surfaces, ensuring every hard-to-reach area is disinfected.
COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon, which means our precautions shouldn’t either – especially if they prevent forced business closures and stay-at-home mandates. We all need to be prepared for the long haul, and everyone can make small changes to keep each other safe.