COVID-19: My understanding & personal precautions for walking, grocery & purchases

Hitanshu Gandhi  
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[Updated Apr-17-2020]
DISCLAIMER: I am just another OCD ex-engineer MBA who is transfixed by COVID-19, not a doctor. This blog DOES NOT CONSTITUTE HEALTH ADVICE. This is merely an easy synthesis of duly attributed insights / advise from my reading which shall be regularly updated. I recommend products I have used or am aware of – I make no warranties whatsoever, and I earn ZERO commission. This is just me sharing information to help make the world safer for everyone – in the case of any inadvertent copyright violation, please drop your comments.

COVID-19 is THE scariest health emergency in public memory. Whether for the crazy fatality rates among senior citizens in NYC, or the wide variation in fatalities, or the large (~up to 20%) hospitalization rate that overwhelms hospitals or the extended asymptomatic incubation lasting up to 15 days or the lung damage visualized in nearly asymptomatic patients. Therefore, my primary recommendations (in the Indian context) are as follows:

COVID-19 is THE scariest health emergency in public memory. Whether for the crazy fatality rates among senior citizens in NYC, or the wide variation in fatalities, or the large (~up to 20%) hospitalization rate that overwhelms hospitals or the extended asymptomatic incubation lasting up to 15 days or the lung damage visualized in nearly asymptomatic patients. Therefore, my primary recommendations (in the Indian context) are as follows:

a. Wear a mask – make your own if you must [Hindi]. Tie your hankerchief to your face!
b. Wear Scotch brite kitchen gloves / turban face shield in public
c. WASH YOUR hands – use any handwash or sanitizer.
d. Roll-Quarantine non-perishable groceries
e. Vigorously water wash groceries or use slightly soapy water, if you’re OCD.
f. Destroy food delivery packet upon receipt, transfer it into microwaveable utensil and microwave the hell out of it for 2-3 min basis SARS data!
g. Spray disinfect objects (books / garbage cans / electric ) that aren’t safe for easy sanitization or washing by hand.
h. Prevent children from playing in any playground till a vaccine comes out, or till you can clean it yourself.
i. If you live in an apartment complex, it is safe to take a socially distanced morning walk [ Link, Link, Link] though Indian police may most likely book you if they are alerted.

DETAILS:
a. Wear a mask. If you have a N95/99 (Delhi pollution helped us prepare!) – please reuse it as far as possible. I keep mine in the sun inside a glass jar, mimicking glasshouse effect.

My stock came from Smart Air Filters / VENUS – open market stocks are dubious these days unless you buy from the best shops. If you must buy – buy a simple cloth or surgical mask. Those are washable.
b. Wear Scotch brite kitchen gloves or post-mortem gloves / turban face shield in public when out for grocery. LEAVE NITRILE GLOVES FOR DOCTORS! They are not reusable. You can reuse post-mortem gloves for years – mine are just giving up at 4 years.
c. WASH YOUR hands – use any handwash. Among sanitizers, I recommend LifeBuoy, which is available in supermarkets in NCR at the right price (250?/500ml). Avoid no-name sanitizers which have dodgy quality of ingredients and waxy hand-feel.
d. Roll-Quarantine non-perishable groceries. The number indicates the number of days to go before it is safe to use. Every day in the morning we pick up stuff from #1, shift it’s tag to the #2 #2 to #3 and the #3 tag into the #1 area, which is now empty. This ends any confusion. Easy habit to know where to put stuff as well and when to remove. Just 3 cards to be rotated daily.

Surely someone has a better idea. Please do suggest in the comments.
e. Vigorously water / mild soapy water wash groceries: Please don’t waste money on Pigeon Fruit Cleanser. In my read, it doesn’t have 70% alcohol, or enough soap. So its a waste of money.
f. Spray disinfection of objects:. Tjori is launching a spray version. The gold Standard, Dettol isn’t available anymore.
g. Walking in open areas – besides the general advise stating it is safe with social distancing: An authoritative research by the US National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases seemed to indicate aerosols were undetectable after 3 hours [page 7, row #109] – that would imply it is safe to walk at 3/4am without a mask, but I would URGE you to wear one regardless.

What is the latest published data about SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 right now: [Comment if there’s something new you would want me to add or remove]

  • Symptoms: Please consult the official MOHFW link or call the helpline at +91-11-23978046 or Toll Free : 1075 or via Email ID : ncov2019@gov.in – in the slightest of doubt, please install the central government Aarogya Setu (health bridge) app: Google Play Apple