Tags: Coronavirus | bathroom | toilet | covid-19

Flushing Toilet May Spread COVID-19, but Most Don't Use Public Facilities

a public bathroom
(Kateryna Aleksandrova/Dreamstime.com

By    |   Sunday, 12 July 2020 04:37 PM

Public restrooms are ideal for the transmission of COVID-19, specifically when someone flushes a toilet after defecating, but a new survey says 82% of people don't even feel comfortable using public bathrooms for that purpose anyway.

The survey, conducted by QS Supplies among 1,032 people from the UK and the U.S., also found that:

  • 76% select the most private toilet.
  • 74% check the toilet seat's rim.
  • 69% avoid personal contact.
  • 59% avoid environmental contact.
  • 59% check the toilet bowl's interior.
  • 49% wipe the seat even if it looks clean.
  • 32% of Americans were more likely than UK respondents to flush the toilet with their foot.
  • Nearly one-third of respondents said they don't flush a public toilet at all.

Stephen Berger, M.D., an infectious disease expert and co-founder of GIDEON, the Global Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Network, says public restrooms are ideal for the transmission of COVID-19, and not just because of toilet plumes (flushing the toilet can send a cloud of tiny aerosol droplets into the air nearly 3 feet around the toilet around the toilet).

"Urinals and sinks are crowded together, and partitions rarely extend upward to shield someone's face. Although toilet stalls are isolated, droplets and aerosols will continue to linger there, several minutes after the last user has left," he says.

Steven Soifer, president of the American Restroom Association, which advocates for clean and safe public bathrooms, told NPR that many businesses are installing dividers between urinals and opening just a few stalls.

Still, Soifer hopes for an overhaul of public restrooms.

"We're advocating for more revolutionary toilet design with the single stall, fully enclosed water closets with toilet seats covers" that are typical in Europe, he said. "That would address many of the issues."

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Public restrooms are ideal for the transmission of COVID-19, specifically when someone flushes a toilet after defecating, but a new survey says 82% of people don't even feel comfortable using public bathrooms for that purpose anyway.
bathroom, toilet, covid-19
290
2020-37-12
Sunday, 12 July 2020 04:37 PM
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