Do I still deep clean surfaces – and your other Covid questions answered
It’s hard to believe now, but two years ago this week, the world was effectively ignoring Covid-19.
In fact, Chinese scientists had just revealed that the “mystery pneumonia” cases in Wuhan were caused by a novel coronavirus.
We’ve all come a long way since then, as has the science around this new infection.
But there are still many questions about how best to protect yourself and your family. The Telegraph’s Global Health Team answers some of them below.
Do I continue to clean surfaces medically?
In short, yes. But not for the reason you think.
Cleaning surfaces and washing hands will always be an important part of infection prevention control. But it may well be more important for preventing other diseases – like MRSA, E coli or norovirus – than Covid-19.
For the coronavirus, many experts now believe that the air we breathe may well be the main routes of transmission, which is why wearing a mask and an emphasis on ventilation have become the watchwords.
What does a faint red line on a lateral flow test mean?
The rise of omicron – the highly infectious new variant – has brought the lateral flow test (LFT) to the fore.
These cheap, rapid, at-home tests are much easier to obtain and process than laboratory PCRs, and this week the government even decided that a positive result on an LFT for an asymptomatic person is sufficient to confirm the result. infection and start to self-isolate.
But how to read them raised some questions: for example, what does a faint red line mean?
Bad news, unfortunately: Experts say any sign of a red line indicates likely infection. So, as a safety measure, for any inconclusive results, it is best to take another confirmatory test and isolate until you are more certain.
“This may suggest that you are either becoming infectious or approaching the end of your infectious period,” said Irene Petersen, professor of epidemiology and health informatics at University College London. “But please take this as a positive result and stay home.”
In terms of timing, experts say LFTs are a good indication whether you are infectious or not. But the onset period can be short – if you get tested in the morning, it is possible to be positive and contagious by the end of the day. With that in mind, and while the rates are so high, scientists have emphasized the need to “creep right before you go.”