Stopping COVID-19 isn’t rocket science. It’s simple, easy, and as both Hong Kong and Singapore have resoundingly proven, it’s extremely effective. We’ve also seen first-hand what doesn’t work. Not only are stay-at-home orders, shut-downs and lock-downs ineffective, they’re Constitutionally unlawful, and I eagerly await the onslaught of lawsuits against mayors and governors who were so damned STUPID.
May 21, 2020 Update: In the seven weeks since I wrote this, I’ve found a number of similar articles around the Internet:
In the meantime…
If the general population continues to behave as they have been, then Bill Gates is right and we’re all stuck on home lock down for the next 10 weeks.
HOWEVER: If everyone uses PPE and these procedures, without fail, America could have returned to work in MARCH.
These checklists were adapted from CBRNE* procedures used by all branches of the Armed Forces to live, work, fly and fight in contaminated environments, and apply only to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 (though probably most contagions). All additional information was moved to COVID-19 DECON – EXTENDED.
*CBRNE: Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Environments
THE SHORT VERSION
- SEVEN LINES THAT SAVE LIVES – AND THE ECONOMY
- REMEMBER: PROTECTION IS PORTABLE!
1. Wear protective eye wear
2. Wear an N95 or better mask (or as good as you can get)
3. Maintain social distancing
4. Disinfect hands:
— after touching the last contaminated item in a series of items (shopping cart)
— before touching anything clean (keys, door handle, steering wheel)
5. Establish a 6′ Decontamination Zone around a designated entrance to your home.
6. Decontaminate groceries and other items using a mild bleach solution. Rinse well.
7. Decontaminate clothes (laundry), self (shower), counters and floors (mop).
Here’s a handy graphic you can print and stick on your refrigerator:
NOTE: As of 5/12//2020, I’ve been using these procedures for seven weeks. No checklist takes more than half an hour to accomplish.
THREE KEY RULES
- The order in which you accomplish the steps is as important as the steps themselves.
- Everything is contaminated until it’s been decontaminated.
- If you make a mistake, start over.
THREE KEY ZONES
- RED ZONE: All of outside, including the vehicles parked in your garage
- YELLOW ZONE: A decontamination area at an entrance nearest a shower
- GREEN ZONE: Your home’s contamination-free environment.
Before we continue with the checklists, please read the User Agreement and Disclaimers. It’s up to you to do your own research, make your own decisions, and bear the responsibility while using common sense. There is absolutely zero warranty, here, implied or otherwise.
While the following steps are relatively simple and straightforward, many are not intuitive, so please read through them carefully and follow them precisely. They’re written in the same amplified checklist format as used by aviators in both military and civilian flying operations. Specifically, “Amplified checklists that provide additional information on the procedures follow the abbreviated checklist (FAA Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, 2016, FAA-H-8083-25B, p. 9-4).
PREPARATION OF YELLOW ZONE CHECKLIST
- RED ZONE SIGN – POSTED: Place a RED ZONE – CONTAMINATED sign at all exits. This isn’t designed to instill fear, but rather a healthy respect for what’s out there, along with a reminder you shouldn’t exit your home until you’ve prepared yourself by following this checklist.
- YELLOW DECONTAMINATION ZONE – DESIGNATED: Choose one door for entering your home from outside. Entry should be on hard flooring, near a shower, with the path between them away from common living areas.
- YELLOW ZONE SIGN – POSTED: Designate the area “Off Limits” except for entering and exiting the home and post a sign. Use masking tape, soccer cones, or some other visual indicator of the zone, create a radius of at least 6 feet around the entry doorway. Treat the Yellow Zone as a potentially contaminated area. If you have things in or around that area you frequently need to use, move them to another area of the home before commencing operations.
- LAUNDRY BASKET – PREPARED: Place a clean, all-plastic laundry basket (no fabric or wicker) in the Yellow Zone. Plastic is easily sanitized. Once clothes go in the laundry basket, they must not be re-used.
- SHOE BIN – PREPARED: Place one or more low-sided plastic bins for holding shoes in the Yellow Zone. Preferably, use separate bins for each person’s shoes.
- COAT RACK – PREPARED: Place your coat with keys and wallet on a coat rack or coat hooks in the Yellow Zone. Ideally, use a simple fleece coat. They’re easily washed, dry quickly and don’t pill if you hang them to dry instead of using the dryer.
- CLEANING BASIN – PREPARED: This can be a large sheet pan normally used for baking, a 5 gallon bucket, or any sort of larger protective basin to catch soap, bleach or water drops from reaching the floor. Place it in the Yellow Zone.
- SCRUBBING UTENSILS – PREPARED: Place an old washcloth or a long-handled scrub brush in a 1/2 qt or 1 qt plastic container in the Yellow Zone. An empty tub of sour cream or potato salad will do nicely.
- BLEACH SOLUTION – PREPARED: Add 1 teaspoon of bleach and 3 drops of Dawn Liquid Detergent to half a gallon of water in a nice, stable bucket. Place it in the Yellow Zone
- ENTRY AREA – POLICED: Brief your family. Do not allow anyone to enter or linger near the entry area, laundry area, or within 6 feet of the path connecting the two, unless they are prepared to exit the home and return by going through these decontamination procedures.
- SHOWER AREA – PREPARED: Ensure the bathroom door is open, the shower curtain or door is open, and you can walk straight into the shower without touching ANYTHING.
ENTERING CONTAMINATED ENVIRONMENT CHECKLIST
- PREVIOUS CHECKLIST – COMPLETE: Self-explanatory.
- CLEAN CLOTHES – PREPARED: Before heading out, place a complete set of in-home clothes just outside the shower room, in a clean area of the home.
- CLEAN OUTSIDE CLOTHES – ON: Don the clothes you’d normally wear outside, except for your shoes and jacket, which remain in the Yellow Zone. Do not enter the Yellow Zone at this time.
- GO BAG – PACKED: Grab whatever you need while heading out, such as a smart phone, shopping list, emergency supplies for a trip, and place in a washable nylon gym bag.
- WATER – PACKED: Drink plenty of water before heading out, but place a couple of small water bottles in that go bag, just in case.
- MASK – ON: Don a mask. The mask goes on before handling anything in the Yellow Zone. If you do not have a mask, you can make one by following this pattern from Johns Hopkins Medicine. Active viruses on contaminated material can become airborne by simply moving the material. If you’d rather not don a mask until you’re ready to enter a grocery store or other public location, I understand, but that’s on you. As for me, I wash my fleece jacket and fleece pants after each week’s outing.
- EYE WEAR – ON: Don protective glasses/sunglasses. Prescription glasses/sunglasses with medium to large lenses will suffice. Wrap-around/conformal lenses offer more protection.
- DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR BELONGINGS: Make certain you have everything you need with you before proceeding beyond this point.
- ENTER YELLOW ZONE: At this point, you’re stepping into a potentially contaminated area. Treat it as such!
- SHOES – ON: Don your shoes.
- COAT – ON: Don your coat containing your wallet and keys.
- EXIT: Leave the home, enter your vehicle, and drive away. Don’t forget to shut the garage door!
EXITING CONTAMINATED ENVIRONMENT CHECKLIST
- HOME – ENTERED: Step into the Yellow Zone and shut the door.
- JACKET – HUNG: Hang up jacket with keys, wallet and smart phone still in the pockets.
- SHOES – OFF: While keeping mask and glasses/sunglasses on your face, remove shoes and hold over the cleaning basin.
- SHOES – SCRUBBED: Using washcloth and/or scrub brush, clean the bottom and bottom edges of the soles of your shoes with the mild bleach solution. Return shoes to shoe bin to dry.
- OUTER CLOTHES – OFF: Remove outer clothes (down to underwear and socks) and place them gently in the laundry basket.
- MASK – OFF: Remove mask and place in laundry basket (cotton masks) or aside for separate decontamination (hard masks).
- TRANSITION FROM YELLOW ZONE TO GREEN ZONE: Remove sock from one foot and step into Green Zone. Repeat for other sock and foot.
- MOVE TO BATH: Walk directly to bathroom and enter shower without touching anything except the ground with your previously sock-clad feet.
- SHOWER – ON: Start shower and wait for the water temp to stabilize.
- SHOWER: Take a deep breath and hold it while keeping eyes closed and finger-scrubbing your hair. Before taking a breath, be sure to tilt your face up and rinse thoroughly.
- EYE WEAR – OFF: Remove glasses/sunglasses, rinse thoroughly on all sides, and set on top of counter.
- SHOWER – FINISH: Continue showering normally (about 3-5 min).
- EYE WEAR – CLEANED AND DRIED: Wipe with 70% alcohol. and dry with clean towel. Set aside.
- HOME ENVIRONMENT – ENTERED: Exit shower, towel dry, don inside clothes, and return to home environment.
- CLOTHING – MOVED: Without touching your clothes, carry your clothing to the washed, hold your breath, dump them in, close the washer door/lid and leave the room for at least 5 minutes.
- HANDS – WASHED: They were close enough to the clothes, the clothes may have brushed the basket handles, etc. Better safe than sorry.
- YELLOW ZONE FLOOR – MOPPED: Mop the hard flooring of your Yellow Zone decontamination area with 1/4 tsp bleach in half a gallon of water with 3 drops of Dawn after every entry or set of entries (for multiple people).
- SMART PHONE – RETRIEVED, CLEANED AND RECHARGED: Without stepping into the Yellow Zone, reach over, and being careful not to stir your jacket too much, retrieve smart phone. Before laying it down or handling it, wipe it with a cotton ball or folded toilet paper square slightly dampened with 70% alcohol. Use the same wipe to clean fingertips which picked up the phone.
- CLOTHING – CLEANED: Clean clothes using the usual amount of soap and normal wash cycle. If you prefer, add a 1/4 tsp of bleach.
- WASHING MACHINE EXTERIOR – SANITIZED: This is necessary to prevent recontamination of your clothes after washing. Either 70% alcohol or soap and water with a touch of bleach will do fine.
- HANDS – WASHED
DECONTAMINATING GROCERIES AND ALL OTHER ITEMS
Note: This applies not only to groceries, which may have been handled by multiple infected and/or contaminated people before you put it in your contaminated basket, but it also applies to any items you’ve bought from outside your home into your home. This includes your own personal items, such as your smart phone, ear buds, sunglasses, wallet, credit card, drivers license, etc. that you don’t want to leave in your jacket pockets.
Remembering The Contaminated Hands Theory: After you wash your hands, the moment you touch anything from either the Red Zone or Yellow Zone, your hands are contaminated and everything they touch becomes contaminated. If you haven’t sanitized your cell phone and put it up to your head, then your head is contaminated. The only viable solution is to wash and/or sanitize your hands while simultaneously sanitizing the item you’re holding, and only then place the decontaminated item into the Green Zone.
Before I proceed, I recommend you watch the following video, produced by a doctor. He gets most of it right, but while the doctor has had training in “sterile technique,” it doesn’t quite pass the minimum CBRNE standards. Thus, I observed several mistakes he made, about which I will comment, below.
But first, watch the video, and as you do, picture yourself following the steps. It will help you adhere to the detailed procedures.
Immediate comments in response to the video:
- Don’t leave your groceries outside for three days. Animals or thieves will make off with them, leaving you hungry. Instead, place them in the Yellow Zone until after you’ve finished your own decontamination procedures.
- There needs to be AIR DISTANCE between your contaminated zone, your decontamination zone and your clean zone. Not only does the line between two sides of a single table doesn’t cut it, but it fails to make use of the outstanding resource of running water. The counter to the left and right of your sink, however, are ideal. Consider that area of your kitchen a Decontamination Zone and do your food prep elsewhere.
- “Hasn’t been touched in a couple of days, so I can just dump them…” No. Treat everything that comes in from the outside, including yourself, as contaminated. Reports of SARS-CoV-ID longevity range between hours and weeks, depending on the surface, with plastic being the worst. Most groceries are packaged in plastic. Err on the side of safety and just manually decontaminate the exterior of all groceries.
- He repeatedly touches possibly contaminated items before touching clean items, like the bread bowl, thereby contaminating them. You MUST prep your areas, first, and if you fail, no worries, but do start over.
- Don’t put plastic grocery bags on the table. Their exteriors are the most contaminated. Put them on the hard floor of your Yellow Zone then leave them there until you’re finished. Lift groceries out of the plastic bags, leaving the bags in the yellow zone.
- I prefer not to talk about takeout. I feel bad for the owners of restaurants, but until all food preparers are wearing exhalation-filtering surgeon’s masks and gloves, or better, I’m not eating takeout.
Aside from the above, it’s good video.
SANITIZING GROCERIES CHECKLIST
- GROCERIES – LEAVE IN YELLOW ZONE: Leave all food in their grocery bags in the Yellow Zone. The exterior of the bags and much of the interior have been contaminated due to the re-stocker’s hands, your grocery cart/basket, check-out counter conveyor belt, cashier, bagger, etc. To reduce cross-contamination, do not carry grocery bags into the kitchen.
- DESIGNATE GROCERY RECEIVING AND CLEAN AREAS: If you have a sink between a left and right counter, perfect. The counter nearest your fridge is your clean area. If not, then use the counter next to your sink as the receiving area.
- CLEAN AND SANITIZE RECEIVING AREA, CLEAN AREA, AND SINK: Sanitize the countertops and sink where you’ll be decontaminating your groceries. Place a towel or drying rack drain on the Clean Area to prevent water run-off.
- SINK – PREPARE: Fill the left side of the sink (or a small tub in a single-basin sink) with warm, soapy water and add 1/4 tsp bleach. Use the empty/remaining sink for rinsing.
- GROCERIES – DECONTAMINATE: Remove grocery items from a grocery bag and give all water-resistant groceries including produce a dunk or gentle wash before placing them in the remainder of the sink. When the remainder of the sink is full, thoroughly rinse them in hot water and place them in the Clean Area. Periodically wash hands in the soap water, rinse and dry them thoroughly, dry the groceries, and put them away.
- BOXED GOODS – DECONTAMINATE: Using a clean sponge dipped in water with a touch of soap and bleach, wipe down the external surfaces of all boxed goods before putting away.
- KITCHEN – SANITIZED: Drain the sink, wipe down all exposed surfaces with water, soap and bleach, and mop the floor.
- BAGS – DISCARDED: Gather and throw away the plastic bags. If you have cloth bags, just add them to the laundry.
- SELF – DECONTAMINATED: Take another quick rinse-off.
- NOTE: If you’re sanitizing someone else’s groceries, follow the above steps, but use a previously sanitized plastic crate as the Clean Area. Close the top, deliver the crate to their doorstep, and remove the top. Have the recipients remove the sanitized items from the crate without touching the crate. Take crate home with you when they’re done, re-sanitize crate, and store with top off to air dray.
MAINTAINING DECONTAMINATION IN THE HOME
- Make a solution of 1/4 tsp bleach in half gallon of water with 3 drops of Dawn.
- Daily: While your computer is off, fill and wring out a sponge several times, wringing it very well the last time to eliminate any possible dripping, and run it over your keyboard.
- Daily: Working from least to most likely to be contaminated, and using a sponge, wipe down all countertops, the kitchen table, commonly-used interior surfaces, appliances, vacuum cleaner, broom handles, stove knobs, fridge handles and knobs, washer and dryer knobs and door handles, doorknobs, edges of doors, dresser handles, kitchen and bathroom sink and shower/tub faucets. Save your Yellow Zone entry/exit door for last.
- Put sponge in one of the silverware containers in your dishwasher and wash with your regular dishes.
- Daily: Mop the floors using the same solution.
- Weekly: Vacuum, but never more often than weekly, using a HEPA-rated filter. Waiting a week allows nearly all if not all of the viruses picked up by the vacuum cleaner to die. Change the bag in accordance with the vacuum cleaner’s owner’s manual.
- Use a HEPA-rated air filter in your HVAC system. Change at normal intervals.
- Frequently: Do laundry, using medium water temperature or higher and the recommended amount of soap. If your clothes can handle it, add a 1/4 tsp of bleach to the load in the bleach dispenser. If your washing machine doesn’t have a bleach dispenser, dilute it in a quart of water and add directly to the wash cycle as soon as the clothes are wet and sudsy.
- Wear clothes that are durable and can handle small amounts of bleach. I wear cotton, rayon and fleece, and all three seem to be doing just fine with small amounts of bleach.
- If possible, wear a fleece jacket, as fleece is polyester and polyester is impervious to bleach. Hang to dry. Do not use dryer as dryer causes pilling.
That’s it for the checklists. I’ll continue to update them when I can. In the meantime…