How to handle groceries and wash produce in the age of COVID-19

Our friend Lynne just left a comment here, alerting us to the existence of a video, made by Grand Rapids-based family practitioner, Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, about how one should handle groceries in the era of COVID-19. I thought that I’d move it up here, to the front page, as it seems like a message that everyone should hear. Given that recent studies have shown that coronavirus can live on some surfaces, like plastic and stainless steel, for up to three days, it is incredibility important that we pay attention to what VanWingen is saying here. So please watch and share, OK?

As VanWingen says, “This all seems a bit time consuming, but, in truth, these days people do have a bit more time on their hands… (so) let’s be methodical and be safe, and not take any chances.”

[See also the Washington Post’s “Don’t panic about shopping, getting delivery or accepting packages.”]

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  1. iRobert
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been watching how the neighbors do things and I expect them all to get the virus soon. I’ve been watching what I do for a couple weeks and still I think I may have gotten infected.

  2. Lynne
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    NYT expert says that wiping jars and other packaging may be overboard but what the heck, it made me feel better to do it!

  3. Anonymous
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    He did a few things that I’ve seen myself do, like touch his faucet to wash his hands, and then go right back to it to turn it off after washing. I imagine you could recontaminate yourself at that point. Otherwise his advice is pretty solid. Personally, I would have washed the broccoli, as you don’t know who might have touch it or coughed on it in the store, but at least he wiped the bag.

  4. Demetrius
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I keep hearing that the primary method of spread is being in direct, sustained contact with someone is infected –and that we’re “unlikely” to get it from surfaces.

    Still, in my household, we’ve begun wiping down incoming grocery items with a sanitizing cloth, and carefully washing any raw, un-packaged produce. We’ve also begun placing new mail/packages in a plastic bag for 48 hours or so before opening them. Plus, periodically wiping down interior/exterior door handles, faucets, and such.

    I’m curious to know if others are taking similar measures, or whether folks think this is going overboard.

  5. Lynne
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius – in this household we are taking similar measures AND we all agree that it is probably going overboard. It isn’t like we have anything else to do since no one can go out to do anything much.

    Good news though. We got the test results back from the sick college student and she is negative for COVID-19! Because of the possibility of a false negative, she is going to remain quarantined for now. I am still relieved.

  6. iRobert
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    I handle possible contamination with more precaution than Dr. VanWingen does. It’s not a problem to do so considering all the extra time we all have for such measures now.

  7. I bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Aloha, what is the logic of ordering a car maker to make ventilators instead of a US ventilator manufacturer like GE. You would think that after making america great again for three years we would be the worlds leader in manufacturing ventilators.
    I know it is the Chinese fault.

  8. Jean Henry
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    This was some relief:

  9. Sad
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    This is deadly serious and poorly handled by the government but I don’t think the world is on fire! Just stay home, avoid other people, go to the store to get stuff as little as possible.

    Hopefully it’s not the end of the world .

    It sound like IRobert might start digging up his back yard to put in a garden soon.

    Joe Zbiden will fix everything!

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile in ice detention facilities they don’t even have enough soap. Because the facilities are supposed to be temporary holding cells they are excluded from standard environmental health regulations. We are a horrible country.

  11. Lynne
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I got up at 3 am and figured, what the heck. So I checked for a Whole Foods delivery window. Nope. Then I checked Shipt and I got one for noon today! That is good because the teenager took the two weeks’ worth of butter I bought and the whole bag of apples and made a pie. Then she pretty much ate the whole pie although her mother and I managed to get the last piece, which we shared. I get stress baking but I get stressed when the butter is getting low. LOL. So I bought extra butter and hopefully it will be more than she is able to bake into something. I am deliberately NOT buying things like flour. Food issues are funny. I have ordered a bunch of things which I am going to keep locked up in my van because just knowing they are there will keep me from freaking out (and being an asshole)

    Those of you who are staying confined with other people, what are you doing to not be an asshole with the people you are with?

  12. Sad
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I’m copying HW and FF and just being an asshole online to spare those around me in real life.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Sad is an optimist.

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    This is an important read re the above posted video:

    I think we’re all going a bit mad in a good information vacuum.

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