What can I do about COVID-19?

My name is Gordon Doig and I am an epidemiologist who has worked in critical care for more than 20 years. I live in Sydney, NSW, Australia. Like you, I have tried to keep up to date on the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) that started in Wuhan, China. Because I don't see a lot of truly useful information coming from the mainstream media, I have been going directly to credible sources like the World Health Organisation. The purpose of this page is to describe in plain language what the WHO recommends and to provide links to WHO content so you can understand exactly what they are saying.

Interactive graphs: World HotSpots, US HotSpots and World Map

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Food Safety and Shopping

There is no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from properly prepared food of animal origin:

  • Consumption of cooked meat (domestic or wild origin), eggs and milk are not considered a means for catching COVID-19.

    • Although foodborne transmission of COVID-19 has not been reported, avoiding raw and undercooked foods of animal origin (meat, eggs, milk products) will reduce exposure to all viruses and other fooodborne pathogens.

    • When preparing foods of animal origin, sound principles of sanitation, personal hygiene and established food satefy practices will reduce the likelihood of transmitting foodborne pathogens.

      • Wash your hands thoroughly before handling and preparing food and after handling and preparing food.

      • All equipment and surfaces used for food preparation should be washed and sanitized before preparing food and after preparing food.

Note: If using bleach for surface disinfection, make sure it is a 0.1% (1,000ppm) solution. Household laundry bleach is usually 5 to 6% strength. To dilute laundry bleach to make it safe for household surface disinfection, add 2ml of bleach to 98ml of clean water. Wear gloves and use caution when handling bleach.

      • It is unwise to allow persons with symptoms of COVID-19 (coughing, sneezing, fever) to prepare food for others.

    • Fruit and vegetables should be washed thoroughly with clean water, especially if eaten raw. And don't forget to wash your own hands before washing the fruit and vegetables!

When shopping for food, it is important to follow measures put in place by your local market or supermarket:

  • maintain social distances (1m to 1.5m from all strangers),

  • practice good hand and respiratory hygiene,

  • do not touch and replace food items and

  • do not shop if you have symptoms of COVID-19 (coughing, sneezing or fever). Ask your friend to shop for you or have home delivery.

  • When you get home, don't forget to wash your hands after putting your groceries away.
More complete details regarding food preparation and handling can be found in the WHO's 'Five keys to safer food' manual. Here is a link to the WHO Answers to your common questions regarding Food Safety during COVID-19 and here is a link to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization statement on Food Safety during COVID-19.

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Any questions or comments please contact Gordon.Doig@EvidenceBased.net
Page last modified on Tuesday 5 May 2020.