In the United States alone, there are 5 million senior citizens in nursing homes. In Israel, the population of elderly, aged 65 and over, is growing rapidly. In 2017, the elderly population of Israel crossed the 1-million line, amounting to about 11.6% of the total population.
But what are we doing to protect this layer of the population from the threat of coronavirus and other dangerous infectious diseases? After all, it is the elderly who are in the most vulnerable position to catch these illnesses.
Probability of dying from coronavirus:
for 60-69 year olds – 3.6%
for 70-79 year olds – 8%
Elderly people aged 80+ are at the greatest risk, for them the probability of dying (in case they catch the Coronavirus) is 22%.
In addition, people with pre existing conditions such as respiratory system diseases, cardiovascular system diseases and diabetes are at a higher risk than healthy people. But it is precisely in old age that these complications are particularly prevalent.
Washington State as an example
At least 273 cases of coronavirus infection and most deaths (30 out of 38) occurred in Washington State. The main metropolis of this state – Seattle and its environs (total population – about 4 million people) became the largest outbreak of coronavirus in US.
19 of those 38 deaths in the state occurred at ‘Life Care Center’ – a nursing home located in Kirkland, a satellite city of Seattle with a population of about 90,000 people.
But why exactly did nursing homes become one of the most active distribution channels for coronavirus?
Coronavirus carries an increased danger for the elderly and those whose body is weakened by chronic diseases. There are almost no elderly people without chronic illnesses, so patients in nursing homes are doubly vulnerable.
The staff is in very close contact with the elderly. The staff themselves travel from the nursing home to other, less isolated locations where they are exposed to possible infection. Part of the staff, due to poor hand hygiene, will bring the infection to work.
Nursing homes need to adapt to new realities
Each staff representative should wash their hands efficiently and at appropriate intervals.
We must ensure the greatest possible isolation of the elderly from the outside world, but at the same time, we must give them the opportunity to feel needed and protected.
If you want to help and act as a volunteer, contact your local nursing home, social services or community charity organizations to see where you can contribute.
Soapy offers a unique solution for monitoring the hygiene of staff and patients. A smart micro-station for washing hands, which provides the right amount of water and reagents for washing hands and enables washing without touching a faucet.
Micro-station also helps in ensuring that the hand-washing is performed correctly every time.
We all know by now how important hand washing is, particularly during these times with the Coronavirus epidemic. As everyone is doing their best to avoid catching the virus, we’ve received many questions about wearing wristwatches and rings, and whether they might have a negative health impact. Can rings and other jewelry be carriers of the COVID-19?
According to many experts, Coronavirus survives further on metal surfaces, like our rings, watches, and bracelets. Parts of the infection can remain under the jewelry, even if you wash your hands with rings on. Even though it is not yet clear that these residual amounts can affect the transmission of infection, we suggest that you do not tempt fate and remove your jewelry during this period or regularly wash them with warm water and soap.
Soapy’s advice for wearing rings and bracelets during COVID-19: 1) Do not wipe expensive stones and metals with an antiseptic, this may negatively affect your favorite jewelry. 2) Weigh the pros and cons of wearing your accessories during a COVID-19 infection – consider refraining for wearing jewelry for now. 3) If you choose to continue wearing your bling – be extra meticulous with cleaning them no less than twice a day.
Coronavirus has strongly affected the lives of all of us and today a large number of people are forced to stay at home. Our company has prepared a small guide on how to stay mentally and physically healthy these days!
It is now difficult to find a person who would not be somehow affected by the influence of this virus. The daily routine has changed a lot for many people. You no longer need to go to work or hold meetings with your colleagues (except for remote communication of course), but since for many of us this routine is completely new, here are some simple tips on how to maintain your mental and physical health!
A simple regimen can significantly save your inner strength and calm in your family; a daily plan is especially important for young children.
Whether you work from home or just quarantine, you should have a clear daily routine. When are breakfast, lunch, and dinner? When is the time for playing with children and when you watch movies and TV shows? Get up in the morning, do your exercises and cook yourself a nutritious breakfast. Do not forget to get out of your pajamas, so it will be easier for you to go into working condition. Try to divide space into the working space and everything else. Try not to work in bed or in front of the TV, as this can distract attention and increase anxiety. Proper posture is up to you and your chair, so provide yourself with an ergonomic workspace – you don’t want back pain.
Work at home can negatively affect our nutritional schedule. Still when the refrigerator is so close! Frequent snacks can completely change your normal diet. If you still allow yourself small snacks, then they should be nutritious: nuts, dried fruits, and sliced vegetables. This way you can have a snack without bad feelings and at the same time, you get a large portion of vitamins and other important elements.
If you only drink tea and coffee, you might get dehydrated. Experts recommend drinking water, not soft drinks, to fight thirst and restore water balance. After a cup of tea containing caffeine, nutritionists advise drinking another glass of water.
The caffeine contained in coffee leaches calcium from the body and interferes with its absorption. Half a liter of water improves metabolism by 30%, favorably affects digestion and the functioning of all organs. A lot of water is also good for your skin’s condition.
Warm-up allows you to bring to working condition those muscle groups that in the near future will have to work during the day. The simplest example of a warm-up is felt every morning immediately after waking up. Almost involuntary sipping prepares the body to move to a vertical position, spreading and slightly warming up the muscles of the arms, legs and straightening the spine. It is important to do a small warm-up in the morning and to make pauses in work in front of the computer. Exercise will relieve stress and help you stay fit even without going to the gym. You can also download mobile apps to help you do the exercises correctly.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is critical for keeping yourself healthy. Although it may seem that you can stay awake all night, breaking your sleep habits can also endanger your immune system. Try to maintain your normal sleep pattern or improve it. Get seven to eight hours of sleep if working from home. This will not only strengthen your immune system but also improve your mood and productivity throughout the day.
Wash your hands more often
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
Soap and water are the best options if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during the use of the product.
Pro tip: Give special attention to the entrance of the house/flat. It has to be separate from the other rooms as much as possible.
Assure that everybody:
Takes off their shoes at the entrance
Makes laundry more often
Does dishes more frequently – do not leave piles of dishes in the sink
Takes a good shower with soap
*Steps 6 & 7 are taken from the CDC. Full information can be found here.
**Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; it does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Soapy; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.
Soap works better than alcohol and disinfectants at destroying the structure of viruses
Why does soap work so well on the new coronavirus and, indeed, most viruses? Because it is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer.
That sounds scientific. Let me explain.
Soap dissolves the fat membrane, and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and “dies,” or rather, it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive. Viruses can be active outside the body for hours, even days.
Soap outcompetes the interactions between the virus and the skin surface, and the virus gets detached and falls apart like a house of cards.
Disinfectants, or liquids, wipes, gels and creams containing alcohol (and soap) have a similar effect but are not as good as regular soap. Apart from alcohol and soap, antibacterial agents in those products don’t affect the virus structure much. Consequently, many antibacterial products are basically just an expensive version of soap in how they act on viruses. Soap is the best, but alcohol wipes are good when soap is not practical or handy, for example in office reception areas.
But why, exactly, is soap so good? To explain that, I will take you through a journey of supramolecular chemistry, nanoscience and virology. I will try to explain this in generic terms, which means leaving out special chemistry terms. (I must point out that, while I am an expert in supramolecular chemistry and the assembly of nanoparticles, I am not a virologist.)
I have always been fascinated by viruses, as I see them as one of them most spectacular examples of how supramolecular chemistry and nanoscience converge.
Most viruses consist of three key building blocks: RNA, proteins and lipids.The RNA is the viral genetic material — it is similar to DNA. The proteins have several roles, including breaking into the target cell, assisting with virus replication and basically being a key building block (like a brick in a house) in the virus structure.
The lipids then form a coat around the virus, both for protection and to assist with its spread and cellular invasion. The RNA, proteins and lipids self-assemble to form the virus. Critically, there are no strong “covalent” bonds holding these units together.
Instead, the viral self-assembly is based on weak “non-covalent” interactions between the proteins, RNA and lipids. Together, these act together like Velcro, so it is hard to break up the self-assembled viral particle. Still, we can do it — with soap!
Most viruses, including the coronavirus, are between 50-200 nanometers — so they truly are nanoparticles. Nanoparticles have complex interactions with surfaces they are on; it’s the same with viruses. Skin, steel, timber, fabric, paint and porcelain are very different surfaces.
When a virus invades a cell, the RNA “hijacks” the cellular machinery like a computer virus and forces the cell to make fresh copies of its own RNA and the various proteins that make up the virus.
These new RNA and protein molecules self-assemble with lipids (readily present in the cell) to form new copies of the virus. That is, the virus does not photocopy itself; it makes copies of the building blocks, which then self-assemble into new viruses.
All those new viruses eventually overwhelm the cell, and it dies or explodes, releasing viruses that then go on to infect more cells. In the lungs, viruses end up in the airways and mucous membranes.
When you cough, or especially when you sneeze, tiny droplets from the airways can fly up to 30 feet. The larger ones are thought to be main coronavirus carriers, and they can go at least 7 feet. So, cover your coughs and sneezes!
Skin is an ideal surface for viruses
These tiny droplets end up on surfaces and dry out quickly. But the viruses are still active. What happens next is all about supramolecular chemistry and how self-assembled nanoparticles (like the viruses) interact with their environment.
Now it is time to introduce a powerful supramolecular chemistry concept that effectively says: Similar molecules appear to interact more strongly with each other than dissimilar ones. Wood, fabric and skin interact fairly strongly with viruses.
Contrast this with steel, porcelain and at least some plastics, such as Teflon. The surface structure also matters. The flatter the surface, the less the virus will “stick” to the surface. Rougher surfaces can actually pull the virus apart.
So why are surfaces different? The virus is held together by a combination of hydrogen bonds (like those in water) and hydrophilic, or “fat-like,” interactions. The surface of fibers or wood, for instance, can form a lot of hydrogen bonds with the virus.
In contrast, steel, porcelain or Teflon do not form much of a hydrogen bond with the virus. So the virus is not strongly bound to those surfaces and is quite stable.
For how long does the virus stay active? It depends. The novel coronavirus is thought to stay active on favorable surfaces for hours, possibly a day. What makes the virus less stable? Moisture (“dissolves”), sunlight (UV light) and heat (molecular motions).
The skin is an ideal surface for a virus. It is organic, of course, and the proteins and fatty acids in the dead cells on the surface interact with the virus through both hydrogen bonds and the “fat-like” hydrophilic interactions.
So when you touch a steel surface with a virus particle on it, it will stick to your skin and, hence, get transferred on to your hands. But you are not (yet) infected. If you touch your face, though, the virus can get transferred.
And now the virus is dangerously close to the airways and the mucus-type membranes in and around your mouth and eyes. So the virus can get in and — voila! — you are infected. That is, unless your immune system kills the virus.
If the virus is on your hands, you can pass it on by shaking someone’s else hand. Kisses, well, that’s pretty obvious. It goes without saying that if someone sneezes in your face, you’re stuck.
So how often do you touch your face? It turns out most people touch the face once every two to five minutes. So you’re at high risk once the virus gets on your hands, unless you wash off the active virus.
So let’s try washing it off with plain water. It might just work. But water “only” competes with the strong “glue-like” interactions between the skin and virus via hydrogen bonds. The virus is sticky and may not budge. Water isn’t enough.
Soap dissolves a virus’ structure
Soapy water is totally different. Soap contains fat-like substances known as amphiphiles, some structurally similar to the lipids in the virus membrane. The soap molecules “compete” with the lipids in the virus membrane. That is more or less how soap also removes normal dirt of the skin (see graphic at the top of this article).
The soap molecules also compete with a lot other non-covalent bonds that help the proteins, RNA and the lipids to stick together. The soap is effectively “dissolving” the glue that holds the virus together. Add to that all the water.
The soap also outcompetes the interactions between the virus and the skin surface. Soon the virus gets detached and falls apart like a house of cards due to the combined action of the soap and water. Boom, the virus is gone!
The skin is rough and wrinkly, which is why you need a fair amount of rubbing and soaking to ensure the soap reaches every nook and cranny on the skin surface that could be hiding active viruses.
Alcohol-based products include all “disinfectants” and “antibacterial” products that contain a high share of alcohol solution, typically 60%-80% ethanol, sometimes with a bit of isopropanol, water and a bit of soap.
Ethanol and other types of alcohol do not only readily form hydrogen bonds with the virus material but, as a solvent, are more lipophilic than water. Hence, alcohol does dissolve the lipid membrane and disrupt other supramolecular interactions in the virus.
However, you need a fairly high concentration (maybe 60%-plus) of the alcohol to get a rapid dissolution of the virus. Vodka or whiskey (usually 40% ethanol) won’t dissolve the virus as quickly. Overall, alcohol is not as good as soap at this task.
Nearly all antibacterial products contain alcohol and some soap, and that does help kill viruses. But some also include “active” bacterial killing agents, such as triclosan. Those, however, do basically nothing to the virus.
Alcohol works — to a degree
To sum up, viruses are almost like grease-nanoparticles. They can stay active for many hours on surfaces and then get picked up by touch. Then they get to our face and infect us because most of us touch our face frequently.
Water is not effective alone in washing the virus off our hands. Alcohol-based products work better. But nothing beats soap — the virus detaches from the skin and falls apart readily in soapy water.
Supramolecular chemistry and nanoscience tell us not only a lot about how the virus self-assembles into a functional, active menace, but also how we can beat viruses with something as simple as soap.
Soapy Care develops smart sinks that incorporate computer vision analytics and IoT technologies to help people wash their hands more efficiently
As fears surrounding the coronavirus continue to grow and the number of people forced into home-quarantine rises, Israeli startup Soapy Care Ltd. is aiming to halt the spread of the virus by helping people wash their hands more efficiently.
Founded in 2018 and based in Rehovot in central Israel, smart hygiene startup Soapy Care develops smart sinks that incorporate computer vision analytics and Internet of things (IoT) technologies, Max Simonovsky, the company’s co-founder and CEO said in a Monday interview with Calcalist.
The smart sinks are autonomous and replace traditional sinks, Simonovsky said. Soapy Care’s sinks can be programmed with different settings, including the amount of time the water runs or the precise amount of soap or sanitizer dispensed, in accordance with where the smart sinks are situated, be it at restaurants, hospitals, retirement homes, daycares, or in private homes, Simonovsky said.
While the company suggests using specific types of soaps for better results, their sinks can be used with any standard soap, he said.
The idea for the smart sinks arose a few years ago when Simonovsky’s son, who was two years old at the time, told him he does not think handwashing is important given that some of the sinks at his daycare do not work properly.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, the company has dropped its prices for customers in hard-hit areas, such as China and South Korea, to help halt the spread of the virus, he said. The outbreak has led to a mass increase in the demand for Soapy Care’s smart sinks, Simonovsky added.
Soapy Care’s technology can be found at restaurants, factories, and daycares in countries including Israel, the U.S., Angola, and India, he said. The company has raised more than $1 million to date and employs a team of 22 people.
How much time do we all spend at work, shaking our hands with friends or colleagues, using shared bathrooms or eating together? The answer is enough! Enough time to be exposed to the environment, where Coronavirus can be beaten if your employer will act right.
We are at Soapy gathered simple rules/actions that you can advise your employer to implement, so that your workplace will be safe and healthy.
Everyone is washing their hands properly for at least 20 seconds.
The employer needs to assure that the workplace is sparkly clean. Bathrooms, toilets, and kitchens should get additional attention. These places should have appropriate posters that explain all aspects of proper hand-washing procedures. See the poster below:
Everyone should practice correct coughing and sneezing etiquette (cover your mouth and nose entirely with a tissue or your upper sleeve).
The employer needs to provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
Sick employees shouldn’t return to work until their temperature has stayed below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) for at least 24 hours, without the help of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicine, the CDC said.
The employer needs to give an opportunity to work from home for people who already ill or just came from countries that were listed as high-risk.
If you are an employer, you can maintain the right hygiene routine of your emloyees just by adding an ECO – smart hygiene station that ensures everyone washes their hands properly. Order it here.
The best way to avoid the coronavirus is frequent hand washing, according to a medical adviser to the world’s airlines.
The virus can’t survive long on seats or armrests, so physical contact with another person carries the greatest risk of infection on a flight, said David Powell, a physician and medical adviser to the International Air Transport Association. Masks and gloves do a better job of spreading bugs than stopping them, he said.
As concern mounts about the scale of the outbreak, carriers from United Airlines Holdings Inc. to Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. have scrapped thousands of flights to China. Here is an edited transcript from an interview with Powell. IATA represents about 290 airlines and more than 80% of global air traffic.
Q: Is there a risk of becoming contaminated with the virus on a plane?
A: The risk of catching a serious viral infection on an aircraft is low. The air supply to a modern airliner is very different from a movie theater or an office building. The air is a combination of fresh air and recirculated air, about half each. The recirculated air goes through filters of the exact same type that we use in surgical operating theaters. That supplied air is guaranteed to be 99.97% (or better) free of viruses and other particles. So the risk, if there is one, does not come from the supplied air. It comes from other people.
Q: What are the chances of getting the virus by touching the seats, armrest or any of the objects on a plane?
A: Viruses and other microbes like to live on living surfaces like us. Just shaking hands with somebody will be a greater risk by far than some dry surface that has no biological material on it. The survival of viruses on surfaces isn’t great, so it’s believed that normal cleaning, and then the extra cleaning in the event that someone was discovered to be contagious, is the appropriate procedure. Will people stop getting together inside an airplane? I would respond by asking: Will I stop going to the movies, or sports games, or concerts or conferences? I don’t think so.
Q: What’s important if you are on a plane to ensure you don’t get infected?
A: Hand hygiene — because contrary to what people think, the hands are the way that these viruses most efficiently spread. Top of the list is frequent hand washing, hand sanitizing, or both. Avoid touching your face. If you cough or sneeze, it’s important to cover your face with a sleeve. Better yet, a tissue to be disposed of carefully, and then sanitizing the hands afterward. Washing your hands and drying them is the best procedure. When that’s not easy to do, alcohol-based sanitizer is a good second-best.
Q: Does wearing masks and gloves help prevent infections?
A: First of all, masks. There’s very limited evidence of benefit, if any, in a casual situation. Masks are useful for those who are unwell to protect other people from them. But wearing a mask all the time will be ineffective. It will allow viruses to be transmitted around it, through it and worse still, if it becomes moist it will encourage the growth of viruses and bacteria. Gloves are probably even worse, because people put on gloves and then touch everything they would have touched with their hands. So it just becomes another way of transferring micro-organisms. And inside the gloves, your hands get hot and sweaty, which is a really good environment for microbes to grow.
Q: Is shutting borders the answer to containing the spread of the virus?
A: One thing that’s changed in the world is the ability for infections to travel rapidly from one location to another and it’s true that aviation is part of that. At the same time, aviation is essential to dealing with outbreaks like this. And this is why we have collaboration with the World Health Organization and IATA that’s been in place for several years. If countries just shut down during disease outbreaks, as happened in west Africa with Ebola, that can make things much worse. During that outbreak, the country struggled, WHO couldn’t get their people in, they couldn’t get biological samples out. The economic impact of being shut off made things worse. General travel bans can make things worse. It can encourage people to travel in secret, which means you lose control of it.
Q: When can we safely say that the worst may be over?
A: The number of cases has continued to increase at around about 16% to 20% each day. Until we get to the point where those numbers are declining, we couldn’t say we turned the corner. (Adds to the second answer the notion that behavior in public spaces is unlikely to be curbed. A previous version of this story corrected the spelling of the doctor’s name.)