How Covid could give you an excuse to dodge the post-Xmas clear up

COVID may have given you an excuse to avoid the post-Christmas clear up this year and put their feet up.

SAGE, a group of scientists who advise the Government, said the most vulnerable people should not be cleaning the house after their loved ones.

The team have warned the risk of catching the coronavirus infection increases for people who do housework.

Cleaning surfaces, dishes and other people's clothes exposes a person to a host of germs.

Therefore, to reduce the most vulnerable catching the virus, they should put their feet up when the house is filled with guests, scientists suggest.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has allowed for three households to exclusively 'bubble' together over five days this Christmas.

But scientists are still wary of the consequences, saying it will certainly cause infections to surge.

Documents published today reveal that over the past month, SAGE has been considering how to reduce the risk of the virus spreading when families get together.

One paper, created by a sub-group of SAGE called SPI-M-O, said: "Action to keep prevalence low before Christmas will reduce transmission during a
relaxation period."

In a set of recommendations, the SPI-M-O said the "environment" families gather in will be crucial.

With so many people in the home, it is important "more vulnerable people [are] not left with a house to clean".

That could include older people or those with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure.

The paper was supported by another published today which warned people should "take special care to protect people who are particularly vulnerable to serious consequences from infection".

It comes after a raft of documents that have described how the coronavirus rips through households.

It said middle-aged women may be the most at risk of catching coronavirus because they tend to do the chores.

Scientists said: 'While we would not want to reinforce the burden of domestic work on women, it may well be important to communicate safer Covid-19 practices to them.'

Respiratory droplets that contain the coronavirus can remain on surfaces and materials for up to three days.

How to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection this Christmas, according to SAGE

In a paper prepared by the Environmental and Modelling Group (EMG) and the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) recommended:

  1. Staggering activities such as cleaning and cooking so rooms don't get overcrowded.
  2. Arranging the furniture so no one from different households is sitting close together.
  3. 'Clustering' people from one household in one part of the room.
  4. People from the same household sitting opposite each other, so their respiratory droplets or aerosols only infect those they live with usually.
  5. Keeping households in the same bedrooms. For example, it is better for children to share a room with their parents rather than with children from different households.
  6. Using elbow bumps instead of physical contact.
  7. Playing quiz games instead of board games – which require touching the same objects such as dice.
  8. Avoid singing unless there is good ventilation.
  9. Reminders around the house to wash hands, and wipes for people to use regularly.
  10. Ventilating the room by opening the window for 10-15 minutes.
  11. Wearing face masks unless you are eating or drinking.
  12. Regular cleaning of shared surfaces, such as toilet flushes.
  13. Washing hands regularly, especially before eating at the same table.

Bizarre ways to safeproof your Christmas

The SAGE documents today listed a number of ways people could limit the spread of coronavirus over Christmas while mixing with their chosen households.

But some of the suggestions, including no singing to avoid spreading aerosols, paint a picture of a gloomy Christmas.

In a paper written by the Environmental and Modelling Group (EMG) and SPI-B, scientists recommended moving furniture around so people from different households were not sitting close together.

They also suggested wearing face masks when not eating, and opening the windows for 10-15 minute bursts.

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