Derek Thompson, Writer And Editor, Atlantic discussed on Here & Now
Our next guest says that kind of cleaning is more show than substance Derek, Thompson writer and editor at the Atlantic joins us now. Hi, Derek Hey Jeremy. Well let's start with the science. Everybody's talking about how clean surfaces are but what do we know about? How the virus actually spreads on surfaces. The CDC has come out and said that touching a surface quote isn't thought to be the main way the virus spreads. It is thought to spread via airborne via large droplets or smaller droplets that linger in the air, unventilated indoor spaces, other scientists I spoke to came to an even more forceful conclusion. Emanuel, Goldman is a biology professor at Rutgers, New Jersey. Medical, school and And he told me that surface transmission of COVID. Nineteen is just not justified at all by the science, so we are still learning more about this disease, our knowledge about it is incomplete and I. Definitely don't want to suggest that it's impossible to contract this disease from services, but it seems far far more likely that we catch it from other people through airborne transmission. cleanings inactive hygiene theater, and compared it to some of the stuff that was done with airport security after nine eleven right, so we're all familiar with security theater. After nine eleven, the TSA took it upon themselves to pat down. Grandmothers and children for possible explosives. And lots of people including people the Atlantic like my colleague. Jim Fallow called the security theater. Well, I think that America's new found obsession with deep cleaning is a kind of hygiene theater. We are obsessed with ads like that planet fitness add about. Cleaning every single possible surface to an inch of its life in order to stop a disease that's actually not traveling mostly from surfaces in the first place. It's traveling through the air. So you have planet fitness doing what? They said they were doing that. AD. You have New York City subway, shutting down every night for a few hours for the first time, and it's one hundred sixteen year history in fact to blast the seats. Seats and the walls and the polls, all this antiseptic weaponry national restaurants like applebee's are creating sort of sanitation czars to oversee the constant scrubbing of window ledges. All of this is happening in a world where scientists are converging on the consensus that it's not spreading from surface to hand to face. It's spreading through the air. We have misallocated our attention and should be focused on unventilated indoor space is not on soap obsessions. I think about this when I go to the supermarket and still not allowed to use a reusable bag because you have to have a new plastic bag or new paper bag because they won't allow that, I? Don't know exactly how that keeps the virus away, but. Is there a problem with this excess cleaner. Shall we say you know what if it helps? People think that they're being safer than what's the problem with? Let us do everything possible to stop this virus. If someone listening likes washing their hands, I say, keep doing it. Keep washing your hands. If you want to scrub down your kitchen counter. That's fine. Keep doing it. The problem isn't so much individuals. It's when companies used their deep cleaning regimens as an excuse to allow people to come into spaces. They shouldn't be in the first place so for example if you. You have gyms restaurants with large unventilated indoor spaces that are essentially telling patrons. Come on in. We're scrubbing down the ellipticals and the tables. You're using just warped logic. You're inviting people to still come into your space and share these unventilated indoor spaces where they can get sick in the piece. I compare it to like an oceanside town that stalked by a frenzy. Frenzy of Ravenous Sharks and urge people to come back to the beach. They say you know we've reinforced the boardwalk with concrete like what now people can sturdily walk into the ocean and be separated from their limbs. You've totally misunderstood the nature of an airborne threat, so I'm definitely not calling and the scientists I spoke to are not calling for people to stop. Stop washing their hands. Keep doing that. If you're in public recently, don't immediately. Stick your fingers into your mouth. You know, take precautions, but still understand the three most important ways to stop this epidemic masks, distancing and moving activities outdoors. That's really it that is one scientist said we can beat this thing and deep clean, so often are just an expensive distraction. Derek Thompson senior editor at the Atlantic Derek. Thanks as always thank you. Robin, there's a market that I go to where they make you put not just a mask. Of course we all wear masks. When we go into a public face, they make you put plastic gloves on your hands to touch the fruits and vegetables. I'm like wait a minute. I'm going to wash these. And so is everybody else. Why would you anyway just young person who's gainfully employed wiping everything all the time so I'm thrilled? So at least it's. It's causing jobs to to go up. Here now is a production of NPR and Wvu are associated with the BBC World Service I'm Jeremy Hobson rather young is here..