Understanding more about germs as virus spreads

Bacteria and viruses are types of germs. COVID-19 is a virus. If it infects you, it can replicate and cause an illness. That's why washing your hands with soap and water is so important.

Posted: Apr 1, 2020 11:37 PM
Updated: Apr 2, 2020 6:44 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - We don't know how much of the coronavirus is needed to make you sick. Mike Melius with Olmsted County Public Health says we have to assume the amount is small.

"What's important about it is once that virus makes contact with you or gets inside your body, mouth nose or eyes, then it starts to grow," Melius said.

That's why practicing good hygiene and constantly cleaning surfaces is key.

"There takes time that time frame, what we call incubation before you become ill," Melius said. "The actual movement and contamination that you might get can happen anytime you're touching surfaces."

I tried a little experiment: I filled a bowl with water and pepper. The pepper represents the virus. Then I stuck my finger in and the pepper got stuck. After, I thoroughly washed my hands, stuck my finger inside the same bowl and my fingers had no pepper. It turns out soap and water really do work. But the important thing is thoroughness.

"Really, you need to get a good lather, a good lather going with good flowing water to remove those viral particles from your hand," Melius said.

I also put on gloves and used tempera paint. The paint is the soap. It takes a lot to get the paint all over my gloves. The trick is to lather with gusto.

"The best antiviral, in this case, is actually removing the virus from your hands, that's why we focus so much on handwashing compared to putting alcohol hand sanitizer on your hand," Melius said.

Melius says it's up to us to adopt such practices.

"They can protect themselves and their families and businesses can likewise and we can get through this curve of illness," Melius said.

Regularly washing surfaces like doorknobs and electronic devices is also key to fighting COVID-19. Public Health says it's also important to use a commercial disinfectant and to check the label to make sure it kills viruses.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 697182

Reported Deaths: 8169
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1427711862
Ramsey59431953
Dakota53075503
Anoka48987486
Washington31228315
Stearns25428242
St. Louis20900339
Scott20039146
Wright18954165
Olmsted16269112
Sherburne13840106
Carver1237052
Clay936897
Rice9278125
Blue Earth888747
Crow Wing8070102
Kandiyohi753292
Chisago733858
Otter Tail689897
Benton6653102
Mower576238
Winona564852
Goodhue560581
Douglas549484
Beltrami534672
Itasca532572
Steele520221
McLeod519665
Isanti500470
Morrison478263
Nobles455650
Becker455060
Polk444575
Freeborn438142
Lyon402454
Carlton399160
Nicollet387848
Pine384026
Mille Lacs363860
Brown358244
Cass355536
Le Sueur348230
Todd333034
Meeker314049
Waseca297626
Martin271633
Wabasha25005
Dodge24865
Hubbard241941
Roseau238224
Houston211217
Redwood206642
Fillmore204510
Renville204248
Pennington196022
Wadena192927
Faribault184925
Sibley180310
Cottonwood179424
Chippewa173439
Kanabec168329
Aitkin159239
Watonwan157211
Rock142919
Jackson136112
Pope13378
Yellow Medicine128720
Pipestone126126
Koochiching125119
Swift120319
Murray117610
Stevens110011
Clearwater109218
Marshall107619
Lake94321
Wilkin91014
Lac qui Parle89424
Mahnomen7339
Big Stone7024
Grant6938
Norman6829
Lincoln6724
Kittson54222
Unassigned52893
Red Lake5067
Traverse4375
Lake of the Woods4204
Cook2150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 443535

Reported Deaths: 6420
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk69441683
Linn26618363
Scott23312265
Black Hawk19397338
Woodbury17483233
Johnson1698692
Dubuque14775221
Pottawattamie13369186
Dallas13048102
Story1211448
Warren707893
Webster6479103
Cerro Gordo6370105
Clinton635898
Des Moines618084
Muscatine5985109
Marshall586981
Sioux547676
Jasper532076
Lee529084
Wapello5230128
Unassigned50150
Buena Vista479442
Marion464086
Plymouth442185
Henry351341
Jones341159
Bremer331365
Washington330454
Crawford326844
Carroll326553
Benton325756
Boone318636
Mahaska282754
Dickinson276547
Kossuth257471
Clay255629
Jackson253844
Tama246073
Hardin244547
Buchanan244238
Delaware240143
Cedar228025
Fayette227945
Page225724
Wright221741
Winneshiek219237
Hamilton216752
Harrison205476
Madison199920
Clayton199758
Floyd195742
Butler191936
Poweshiek188837
Mills188225
Iowa185927
Cherokee184740
Allamakee181152
Jefferson178238
Lyon178041
Calhoun172213
Hancock170336
Winnebago170131
Cass164356
Louisa161651
Grundy161335
Appanoose158149
Shelby156539
Emmet153241
Franklin152224
Humboldt151626
Union149937
Sac147922
Mitchell146143
Guthrie142132
Chickasaw141618
Palo Alto134527
Clarke130226
Montgomery127940
Keokuk121332
Monroe118733
Howard118422
Ida109838
Davis105025
Greene103012
Pocahontas102623
Monona99034
Lucas98523
Adair97734
Worth9558
Osceola84717
Decatur76710
Fremont76511
Van Buren75221
Taylor73412
Wayne66323
Ringgold63027
Audubon60114
Adams4254
Rochester
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