kccu

Marc Silver

Masks make a statement. About who you are — and your views of the pandemic.

That's true in countries from the United States to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The government of Congo requires all Congolese to wear masks when going out in public to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Paul Farmer, professor of medicine at Harvard University, has spent three decades helping poor countries fight devastating diseases – from tuberculosis to cholera to Ebola to Zika. As co-founder of Partners in Health, he works to strengthen health-care systems in Haiti (where the group started), Malawi, Rwanda and other low- and middle-income countries, where he's seen what works – and what doesn't work – when disease strikes.

Yes, washing your hands provides excellent protection against coronavirus (and other pathogens).

But you do need to scrub with soap for 20 seconds to remove those pathogens. That's what the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and many hand-washing experts recommend.

Twenty seconds is a long time when you're standing at a sink. The common advice is to wash as long as it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice or the ABC song. If you don't rocket through the lyrics, you should get about 20 seconds of scrub time.

You may wake up, look out the window and be struck by how things seem pretty normal.

Spring is coming, trees are flowering, birds are chirping.

And if you go to the kitchen to make breakfast and see that someone in your household left dirty dishes in the sink, you'd be peeved.

Wuhan is a ghost town, yet there are still definite signs of life.

That's the status of this city of 11 million, which has seen strict quarantine measures imposed in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the new coronavirus disease.

As of Feb. 10, every compound, or residential complex, in Wuhan has been put under "closed-off management" orders by the government.

The goal is to keep healthy people from getting infected by going out and about.

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