Tuesday 14 July, 2020

DEADLY CELLS: Concern about mobile phone use amid COVID-19 fight

Health officials globally have been pointing to the importance of persons keeping their mobile phones clean, as the instruments can act as conduits for the spread of germs, which is of even more significance amid the ongoing outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But while the need for this measure has been out, one medical practitioner in Jamaica expressed the viewpoint that many persons locally are not following the guidelines, and the message needs to be intensified that there is major danger lurking if this is not done.

“The message needs to be intensified to ensure cleaning of these devices are done more often throughout the day and not just in a one-off case over say a 24 hour period,” stated the local health professional.

Informal checks carried out in public spaces by a Loop reporter, showed that while some individuals will clean their phones once or twice within a day, it is not done at anywhere near the same frequency as sanitisation of the hands, especially among persons who are on the go and rushing to complete activities.

The local health professional who asked not to be named as he was not part of the Ministry of Health’s team speaking to media on the coronavirus, said inadequate cleaning of cell phones is definitely presenting a health problem, especially amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Informal empirical observation showed that even individuals who consider themselves as sticklers for health-conscious habits like regular hand sanitisation, and who are serious about following health guidelines, rarely clean their cell phones more than once daily.

That means that while individuals are now regularly and routinely sanitising their hands during the days to protect themselves from the coronavirus, their phones remain dirty throughout each day, during which they are likely to be touching surfaces where the virus may exist.

Hence, during the time that a person may be out and about and may touch a surface where the virus is present, he or she soon touch a personal cell phone which becomes contaminated but is not cleaned for quite some time while there is consistent cleaning of the hands.

An Informal survey carried out on social media with interviewing of a total of 10 people from various sections of the island, asking how many times the persons cleaned their phone each day, returned some interesting answers, compared to the number of times they would sanitise their hands.

The gap between the number of times they sanitise their hands and the number of times they clean their phones was extremely wide in almost all the cases.

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