As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Georgia’s economy has reopened. Because of that, many people have begun venturing out for summer fun while others have returned to their offices.
When it comes to making your way through places, though, you may have to face taking the stairs or the elevator. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging people to remain at least six feet apart, it’s not possible in a box several feet above the ground.
ABC News reports the coronavirus may spread in an elevator in two ways. One is by fellow riders and the other is from expelled particles that have remained in the elevator from a previous rider with COVID-19.
The good news is experts say the risk of spreading the coronavirus in an elevator is low, but they note people should still take steps to protect themselves.
“Buildings should have a policy of wearing masks and big signs posted to elevators: Wear a mask,” Richard Corsi, the dean of engineering and computer science at Portland State University and indoor air specialist told Bloomberg City Lab.
Here are the steps you can take to protect yourself from contracting the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.
- Wear a mask
- Stand away from others in opposite corners
- Touch as little as possible
- Avoid crowded elevators
- Avoid the elevator altogether by taking the stairs if you can.
One of the main ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is wearing masks, which the CDC recommends in public settings where social distancing is difficult. It notes the recommendation is made especially important in “in areas of significant community-based transmission.”
“CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others,” the Atlanta-based agency said. “Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”
Taking the stairs puts you in a less crowded area but if you can’t avoid the elevator, you should also be mindful of etiquette. Because the coronavirus can spread through small droplets, coughing, sneezing or speaking loudly will release the virus into the elevator and increase the risk of spreading it.
As for pressing buttons to get to your floor, there is a small risk of catching the coronavirus on elevators from previously expelled viral particles on surfaces. The risk can be reduced by using an elbow or tissue to press buttons, avoiding touching your face and by sanitizing or washing your hands.
Still, it’s more likely that infections will occur from person-to-person, not from touching surfaces, experts say.
Additionally, the brief time spent on an elevator may help, but infectious disease expert Dr. Steven Lawrence of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis told NPR, that still “you’re in a small box.”
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