Coronavirus is off-the-rails crazy
Updated: Mar 12
Coronavirus is crazy but it doesn't have to be
I take the Metro to work each day and believe 2.3 million people enjoy this form of transport in Madrid even if enjoy is not the appropriate word to use.
Squashed together I imagine there are about 200 people on each early morning carriage but this week I tried counting and only counted 50 people one half of my carriage. I don’t think it is a leap to estimate 100 people per carriage going by this figure.
Some of these people are coughing and sneezing away which is natural. You can’t hold a sneeze or stop yourself from coughing if you really have to.
I have started wearing a scarf around my mouth and nose rather than a mask but think using a barrier if you can is a great idea. I’ve also started wearing disposable gloves on the Metro as you have to hold on to something as your ride the rails and you still need to open doors and push surfaces which I don’t believe are being disinfected.
Last week I watched a CNN reporter on tv telling people that public transport is still safe to use but you should move away from people who are coughing and sneezing. Clearly the reporter has never been on a busy bus or train before as we are sandwiched together with some people having to really squeeze in as the doors close.
CNN showed images of the same bus and train being disinfected in Tehran over and over again but we need all forms of public transport to be disinfected or cancelled. We need people to walk more or find alternative forms of transport, we need to reduce the risk of contagion.
I am talking about the spread of a virus and not panic. This is common-sense stuff. Handrails should be wiped down frequently, people should consider wearing a scarf around their mouth and wash it frequently. Who cares if you look like Fred from Scooby-Doo?
I’ve seen people saying that we shouldn’t panic as even if you contracted Coronavirus the statistics suggest a very good chance of surviving it.
81% of the cases are mild and 14% of the cases are moderate. Only 5% of the cases are critical which I presume means fatal but if I’m on a Metro and I can’t distance myself quickly enough from an infected person who is coughing and sneezing like CNN suggests than I would prefer to be wearing a mask or scarf. (Important update below on the use of masks)
If these surfaces become infected and are not being disinfected than I would prefer to touch them with a disposable glove that I can throw in a bin outside the Metro.
A Metro with a 100 people per carriage squeezed together for a 20-30 minute trip might only see 81 people with mild cases and 14 of them with moderate cases but I don’t want to be one of the 5 dead people on my train carriage because I listened to advice that suggested public transport is safe.
(Not that 100% of people would get infected. I just want to demonstrate that 5% is not just a small number but actual lives lost.)
Arriving for work at a building where I teach, I could see a receptionist wiping down all Visitor badges with disinfectant and was offered a squirt of a hand sanitizer in a company where all employees have received hand sanitizers for their desks.
Why is a receptionist doing more to stop me from contracting Covid-19 than any elected official?
Our lives shouldn’t ground to a halt and we shouldn’t panic unnecessarily, each morning my Metro passes through a ghost station that was once a bomb shelter, if people lived underground in hostile conditions surely we can plod on with life too.
Take all precautions, cover your face with your scarf, demand disinfected surfaces or wear gloves, wash your hands and try to avoid touching your face and normal service will shortly resume.
GOING NOWHERE: The sign above suggests some kind of accessibility but there is no elevator off the platform, only stairs. Governments need to watch the signs and be honest in their communication.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: In my article, I never mentioned the limitations of using masks which was pointed out to me on Facebook by a woman called Marta Ros. I have enough scarfs at home that I can just put them into the wash at the end of the day and haven't used a mask myself because of the limited use they can offer unless you are directly exposed to people with Coronavirus and need a mask or are infected yourself. Such masks are meant to be disposable of course and not re-worn.
Marta was good enough to point out to me, "Basically, masks don't protect you from aerosol emisions (droplets in air act as a sort of spray) and your eyes are not protected. Also a piece of material does not act as a mask and if you touch a wet mask the risk of contagion is increased. Masks should be worn by people with actual coronavirus symptoms" and she shared the following links with me. https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/nick-ferrari/coronavirus-expert-facemasks-wont-protect-you/?fbclid=IwAR08xC1ngbR30ZFEUdT_FQjN1dXF9vH1PgGwUGYPNGbT3K_EKmMvXTQBGY4
When and how to use masks: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks?fbclid=IwAR2ypOyHwQUYW8QY2X9r95Gd14oS71Nicca8MT5LhJmYGqiYD1GKNO-zGtc
I would feel safer if Public Transport started disinfecting earlier, had hand sanitizers outside or advised passengers of what to do, even if that was just a large notice at the entrance that said cover your cough and keep washing your hands.
Stay safe and keep sharing good advice and correct people when they are getting their facts wrong.