COVID-19 Strategy - Your Microwave!

March 30, 2020

References:CDC, Galvaston News, Consumer Reports, Post and Courier, Quora, JAMA,BioRxiv

Can I get carryout? Can I help keep our restaurants alive? Is it safe to order from all the places that say they are hands free?

We don't know for sure. We can't be certain that the chain of humans from cooks, to packaging, to delivery to you are perfectly clean and virus free. We do know that the virus can last on surfaces for 48 hours at least. We don't know if the food source has its employees wearing masks or being tested for safety because we have no testing yet at the site of food preparation. It is likely aerosolized in microparticles leading WHO to "thinking" of making airborne precautions - which ramps up dramatically the risk for health workers and increases the demand from PPEs (personal protective equipment). Airborne would explain the rapid spread in dense cities. Just imagine a New York subway and one sneeze or cough. Six feet encompasses 12 people. Considering that the early mathematical models from China suggested each case passed it on to 2.2 people, we now see how it spreads. But what about food that is put into a sterile container while hot and then given into a transport bag that has no human contact that is then delivered to you?

Searching around

The CDC claims that we have very little evidence that the virus is spread by items imported into your home. Carryout! How can you make sure it's safe? Well, the CDC says anything above 167 kills viruses. Boiling is 212 and Pizza ovens are 450 or higher. Can you use that knowledge to make your food safe? Sure you can. You can reheat your purchased food items to get them back up to almost boiling. That won't work with salads and cold items, but it sure will with hot food. God forbid I endorse pizza but it is cooked at a very high temperature, making it sterile, at least when it comes out of the oven. Can you make sure you get it hot again, and then don't burn the top of your mouth?

We do know that the microwave will likely not be good for your newspaper. There are studies showing that you may burn it up, with cash also being at risk.

WWW: What Will Work for Me? We haven't ordered carryout from all the restaurants crying for our business. I plan to. If we don't help our businesses that are affected by this terrible pandemic, we won't have them when it is over, a year from now when the vaccine is available. I wash my hands after anything brought into our home. I try not to touch my face, rub my eye, sneeze or cough without cover. But for me, one restaurant meal a week, with a tip, and wash my hands, wash my hands, wash my hands. Don't get closer than 6 feet except for the 3 seconds it takes to pass off the meal.

Pop Quiz

  1. COVID-19 is spread primarily through what? Answer: Respiratory droplets that get on surfaces or are breathed in by people close to the source. Patients with COVID-19 have had viable virus found on their airvents (at least the RNA, not by viral culture) that could have been 48 hours old.
  2. Items brought into your home can carry the virus. T or F. Answer: True but not the common or main source by far. The virus lasts on surfaces for up to 48 hours, but it then has to get to your face and its mucous membranes. It does not burrow through intact skin. Spend more time washing your hands, less time washing your counters. (Still clean your counters, just wash your hands more)
  3. What temperature destroys the virus? Answer: 167 degrees.
  4. Will your microwave clean your money? Answer: Possibly but it may also destroy it and maybe catch fire. Dry surfaces aren't likely good for the virus.
  5. Can a microwave help you in this epidemic? Answer: Yes, it can heat food you order from a restaurant back up to 170 or higher and thereby sterilize it.