We’re living through a pandemic that’s killed millions of people and there’s much debate over what the best practices are to mitigate the damage. The “experts” say get the vaccine and wear masks in areas with high rates of transmission or wear a mask indoors if not vaccinated or around the unvaccinated. The skeptics range greatly. Some say it’s a hoax and call it a scamdemic. Others may take precautions, but think certain measures like mandating vaccines or masks in schools go too far.
I think vaccines are good. However, the main debate in all of this overlooks some other major problems. People constantly being gross is also likely making this pandemic worse. The World Health Organization says that the virus primarily spreads "from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe." However, it also says, "People may also become infected by touching surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus when touching their eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning their hands."
It’s that second point that matters. The virus can live on surfaces and people touch surfaces with dirty hands. A January 2020 poll from YouGov showed that 58 percent of U.S. adults say they always wash their hands with soap after going to the restroom at home. That means 42 percent of adults didn’t. Plus, if it's a self-reported survey and people know that not washing one's hands is the wrong thing to do, we can assume that some people lied. While polls and surveys are interesting, personal experience also tells us the problem here.
When you’ve gone out to eat in the past, how many times have you seen people eat with their bare hands? Did they use hand sanitizer right before they did? And if they did use it, did they use public hand sanitizer that a bunch of other people touched beforehand and then touch it again before they ate? Or did they use no hand sanitizer at all and eat with their bare hands after touching a bunch of things, including public door handles and their cell phones? Cell phones are dirtier than toilets, many studies show.
During the pandemic, some people gave me a hard time about bringing hand sanitizer with me everywhere I went until I got the vaccine. I sometimes get a hard time for not eating food with my bare hands. People were also critical of me for doing this in school. Not sure if any of those kids got coronavirus but then again, I don’t give a shit.
Recently, I went out for South Shore-style bar pizza with a few friends and saw this grossness play out. Someone I know not only ate their pizza with their bare hands but felt the need to lick their fingers while doing so. That’s always been a pet peeve of mine, but during a pandemic, it’s idiotic.
A lot of this is basic hygiene. Yet, there are a lot of people who either forget or don’t care. We know that many people who died of coronavirus had multiple health problems at the same time, so putting oneself at risk of coronavirus and other sicknesses didn’t help. Not to mention, the United States is the fattest country in the world. Obesity puts one at a greater risk of dying of coronavirus. During the pandemic, there were mask mandates in place for people walking outside even when they could maintain six feet or more of social distancing. That was a fucking stupid policy. But if the country were exercising more and eating healthier, we’d also likely have fewer coronavirus deaths. The same goes for alcoholism. Alcohol weakens the immune system and yet, we see politicians ignore the facts and let people drink themselves to death in the pursuit of maximizing government revenue—as if a thriving booze industry that destroys lives is vital to our society.