Coronavirus: Nurse demonstrates how quickly germs spread

This nurse demonstrates how quickly germs can spread, even with gloves.

Many people across the world have taken to wearing gloves when they venture outside to protect themselves against the coronavirus.

But do they work?

On a recent trip for groceries, Molly Lixey, a former emergency room nurse from Michigan, said she noticed a lot of people wearing gloves. That is great, she thought, but there is still a risk of cross-contamination.

In a Facebook video, she decided to demonstrate just how quickly and easily germs can spread at a grocery store. 

In her video, Lixey simulates going to the store and starts off by putting on gloves, taking her mobile phone as she leaves her car, cleaning a shopping cart and grabbing some toilet paper.

She uses a piece of cardboard as her mobile phone and dips her fingers in a plate of black paint to symbolise the germs on her hands as a result of grabbing toilet paper.

“And now if you can see, I have all these germs on my hands from touching my toilet paper,” Lixey says. “But it’s on my gloves, that’s fine right? You know, now I’m walking along and my phone rings. So I’ve now touched my hands together a couple of times and I reach for my phone.”

Lixey continues to pretend she is walking through the grocery store and imitates picking up new items to put in her cart.

“And oh, I have a text message from my husband, saying we need to get more chicken, we need to get chicken for dinner,” she continues. “So I text him back, I put my phone back in my cart, continue shopping, continue getting groceries. And I keep touching everything. Oh my nose itches, here, let me itch my nose. Now my phone’s ringing, it’s my mum, oh my goodness look at all this bacteria.”

By the time she takes off her gloves, germs have already spread to her face and phone.

She shows that whatever gets on the gloves would migrate to the phone if someone picked it up. So, unless the person disinfects the phone, the germs on it would travel to his or her hand once the gloves are off and the person touches the device.

“Look, this is called cross-contamination,” Lixey says. “There’s no point wearing gloves if you’re not going to wash your hands every time you touch something.”

This video was produced and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Linh Nguyen.