- Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, the director of the Defence Health Agency, said that the coronavirus is an opportunity for Americans to reflect on their personal hygiene habits.
- “We have bad habits,” he told reporters Thursday. “Despite all the tragedy that is coming from this,” he continued, “if it teaches us good habits, then at least something comes out of it.”
- The general said that if Americans can learn from the latest outbreak, they might be better prepared to handle whatever the next thing is whenever it comes.
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A US Army general and a top military health official said Thursday that the coronavirus might be a good opportunity for Americans to learn what their parents tried to teach them as kids and fix “bad habits.”
Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Defence Health Agency, told reporters at the Pentagon that while it is impossible to know what the next epidemic will be or when it might appear, the current outbreak should give Americans reason to take a moment and reflect on personal hygiene habits.
“I think it does give us reason for pause about the complacency that we as people, and particularly we as Americans, have,” he said of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are very used to our water being safe. We are very used to our food being safe,” the general continued. “As Americans, we’re not very good at washing our hands.”
A Centres for Disease Control and Protection fact sheet on handwashing calls attention to a study from a decade ago that found that only 31% of men and 65% of women washed their hands after using a public restroom.
“We have bad habits,” Place said.
The coronavirus first appeared in China, but it has since become a serious pandemic. The US has reported more than 11,000 coronavirus cases and 170 deaths. Around the world, more than 235,000 people have been infected, and nearly 10,000 people have died.
“Despite all the tragedy that is coming from this,” the general said, if this teaches us what our mum and our dad tried to teach us when we were kids, … if it teaches us good habits, then at least something comes out of it,” the general told reporters.
Place further explained that if Americans can learn from this, learning things like “how you wash your hands, and not just splash a little water on it but actually use soap,” then “when the next thing does happen, we are better prepared for it.”
To protect yourself from the coronavirus, the CDC advises washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if the other option is not available. The CDC also encourages people to avoid touching their face and to keep their distance from others.