With the Coronavirus spreading across more than 130 countries worldwide, people are wondering where they contract the virus. Can you get it by pumping gas at gas stations?
The short answer is: yes. It is possible to get Coronavirus from pumping gas, especially considering how many germs pumps have on them.
Dr. Rachel Graham, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, tells Heavy, “Any solid surface has the potential to be a fomite. However, surfaces out of doors, in variable temperature and humidity conditions, are more likely to contribute to desiccation (drying out) of viral particles more quickly. The chances are comparatively low in this instance, but again, be aware of how clean your hands are. Wash your hands after pumping gas or use hand sanitizer, which is a good practice after using a gas pump anyway.”
The World Health Organization seconds that, stating that while we still don’t know everything about Coronavirus, it’s possible (based on previous coronaviruses) for the it to live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. The CDC writes, “Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.”
However, it is worth noting that touching an object that has been touched by an infected individual is not the main way that the virus is spread– it is most likely spread from droplets by sick patients. The CDC reports, “These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”
A Study Shows That Gas Pumps Are Among the ‘Germiest Surfaces’ in American Cities
UPI News cites a study conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional that shows that gas pumps are swarming with germs– this is why some gas stations are offering plastic gloves to their customers, according to ABC4.
Objects with an ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) reading of higher than 300 are considered to have a high risk for illness transmission, and data from more than 350 tests proved that 71% of gas pump handles have a reading of higher than 300.
The Virus Is Thought to Spread Mainly Between People in Close Contact With One Another
The main way the virus spreads is believed to be through people in close contact with one another– within 6 feet, according to the CDC. This happens through respiratory droplets that come from an infected individual’s cough or sneeze.
While there is currently no vaccine for the virus, the CDC advises that people take a number of precautions to avoid contracting it, such as cleaning your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, avoid close contact with sick people, and to stay home if you are sick.