Coronavirus: good habits to adopt

With the coronavirus that is likely to make its entry into Quebec, the microbiologist-infectiologist and professor at the University of Sherbrooke Alex Carignan, thinks that the time is ideal to apply the base: cough in his elbow, avoid appearing in public when ‘we are sick and disinfect our hands.
“It’s time to get into these good habits before the virus spreads to us,” considers the man who is also a researcher at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Sherbrooke and a doctor at the CIUSSS de l ‘Estrie-CHUS.

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“In Sherbrooke, the main threat is still influenza,” says the scientist. This is one more reason to cough in your elbow, avoid showing up in a public place while being sick. This base will also apply if there is a sustained transmission of the coronavirus in Sherbrooke. ”

According to him, the coronavirus very sensitive to disinfectants like alcohol and hydroalcoholic gels. “Disinfectants like bleach and hydrogen peroxide are very effective in removing the virus fairly quickly. There seems to be stock-outs, but it’s fairly simple to produce, which is good news, ”said Professor Carignan, who is a clinical researcher-fellow at the Fonds de recherche santé Québec.

The main danger is the human being, says Professor Carignan. “It has been shown that the coronavirus will persist on inanimate surfaces, but there are several elements that come into play. Generally speaking, we speak of a few hours to a maximum of eight or nine days under relatively ideal conditions. ”

“What we don’t know is the concentration of the virus when you touch a surface,” he continues. Will the transfer on our hands be effective? What proportion of the germs on the environment will be transferred to our hands? For now, we hear a lot about the increase in infections in public places. The take-home message is a virus that transfers through fine droplets. When people cough or sneeze, it can be on us or on our hands. On average, a human will touch his face a few hundred times a day. The important thing is hand hygiene, much more than sterilizing the environment. ”


The professor expects that transmissions will take place in the community eventually. “What we want is to postpone it as much as possible so that the health system is able to digest these patients,” specifies the scientist. When there is transmission, health care workers will be sick. There will be absenteeism related to this. It is the whole that is worrying. ”

“We shouldn’t be panicked, but realistic. You have to know that it is coming and prepare as best as you can. ”

However, the virus is not trivial for Professor Carignan. “We’re talking about two to three percent mortality. However, there is a high potential for having a lot of hospitalization. In Italy, health systems are completely submerged. Not all of them are extremely sick, but many of them will need oxygen, in some cases, intensive care or breathing supports. Beyond mortality, there is the potential effect on the health system which is worrying, ”summarizes Mr. Carignan.

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