COVID-19 and Food Handling

COVID-19 and Food Handling

Watch this twenty-five minute interview recorded on Monday, 30th of March with Nobel Prize winner and Australian Academy of Science Fellow, Professor Peter Doherty AC FRS FAA on COVID-19.

Professor Doherty discussed food handling, testing, new restrictions, Australia vs New Zealand and rethinking capitalism in the interview.

Professor Doherty Explained:

Food Handling - "We're told it [the coronavirus] can live on cardboard and paper for up to 24 hours. I don't think that's likely to be a major source of infection, but it's something you just might keep in mind when you are taking hold of the pizza box […] you open the pizza box and then before you take the food out, wash your hands and then put the pizza box somewhere out of the way.

"On plastics it can certainly survive longer on plastics and steel, it certainly survives for at least three days and in the SARS epidemic, of course, we saw people wiping down elevator buttons. […] Just open everything, wash your hands before you take the food out of the plastic and maybe transfer it to another plastic bag before you put it in the fridge. It can survive up to nine days on plastics."

Testing – "What you've got to realise is all the testing that's been done so far, pretty much has been by PCR. PCR testing only detects the virus, so all we've been looking at is the virus, but what we don't have yet is a screening antibody test for testing large numbers of people.

Rethinking capitalism - "I think we need to rethink the way our society works quite frankly. A society that's driven only by the needs of capitalism is a complete catastrophe. It's unsustainable, it's toxic, it's anti-human and just horrible."

New restrictions – "I think it will have a significant effect, and we just wait and see. There's a lag phase between the time you're infected and the time you show any symptoms is likely to be about five or six days, and the time until you show severe symptoms will be even longer. So anything that happens now is reflected in what we see a week from now. "

New Zealand vs Australia – "New Zealand […] instituted very very tight border controls very fast. So they may keep it out and stop it circulating in the population. The downside for them is going to be when do they turn it back on again, because they won't have any herd immunity developing, and quite frankly if they want to stay completely safe they'll have to wait til they get a good vaccine.

"I think our strategy is mostly directed at the idea that yes we will have community transmission"it's probably too late to avoid that"and the number we're seeing now probably is community transmission […] What we want to avoid is overwhelming the hospitals […] hopefully we're in that sweet spot [but] we'll see what happens."


Photo by Kristina Bratko on Unsplash