Pass Me A  Mirror. It’s Starting To Get Ugly.

Pass Me A Mirror. It’s Starting To Get Ugly.

Oh. My. Goodness.

This pandemic is starting to bring out some really nasty traits and behaviours in people.

Let me explain…

Firstly, let me tell you, that there are a lot of business people out there who have not planned for hard times.

And a lot of those people are now looking to blame the pandemic for their poor planning and poor management.

A lot of these people have been sailing close to the edge and now the edge is here right beside them and beneath those people.

And those people are starting to behave badly.

I saw one dentist, who just returned from an overseas holiday, only to be placed in 14 day lockdown, and was complaining openly that she had now needed to go cap in hand begging to her lenders because she couldn’t afford the loss of income imposed upon her by the additional two week lockdown.

But yet she could afford the two week vacation just before that?

Sadly her social media photos of her and her European car and the big house that her poor old family is cooped up in are not to be referenced either?

Give me a break…

Sadly, this is the reality

There are a lot of high flyers now living on their credit cards.

The great Dr. Omer Reed told me ten years ago [and I’ve been preaching this fact regularly since then] that in the USA, ninety five percent of dentists reaching age sixty-five cannot afford to retire on the income they were making as a dentist… that means that nineteen of every twenty dentists over there needs to keep working after reaching sixty five to maintain their lifestyle.

And I’m figuring that the figures Down Under are quite similar…

And that is sad.

And so what we are seeing now with these Government enforced restrictions and responsible practicing of social distancing is that most dentists out there do not have the cash reserves in place as a back-up for when times are tough.

And yet we know that Warren Buffett has been sitting on cash for the past two years.

And with the stock market now taking a hit, most people’s portfolios that have been aggressively balanced towards growth equities, well those people are seeing values SLASHED at Wall Street.

Weak underbellies are being exposed

I’m seeing dentists proclaiming on Social media that this COVID-19 has permanently destroyed their lives.

Well, let me let you in on a little secret…

It’s not COVID-19 that’s done it.

It’s themselves who are to blame.

By failing to save up for a rainy day.

Because the rainy day is now here.

We have heard often enough that the market was overheated.

Well in this case the market has retreated now while the health of the human race is at risk.

And yet, nobody wants to take any blame for failing to put some cash away to live on during hard times.

And nobody ALSO wants to take any blame for poor business decisions they’ve made in the past that have now put them under more stress.

Decisions such as not doing their true due diligence on business opportunities and business ventures.

And not seeking legal advice on a rental agreements.

Or overpaying through the nose for a dental office fit out and build?

Or building a new dental practice in a poorly researched location where the decision was based more on emotion rather than fact?

In some cases one poor decision can make life really difficult for a while…

Don’t I know it…. I’ve made a couple of doosies in the past myself.

But sadly, in some other cases, for some people, it’s just one poor decision on top of another and another and another…

Without any time out to look and reflect.

And without seeking professional help and advice either…

Sadly, when these sorts of things happen, people start getting really nasty and resentful of others who have not made similar mistakes.

Some people really get their back up.

And instead of looking for a solution, they look for a time to vent and share their poor little pity.

And chop down anyone who seeks to openly offer help to them.

As if that sort of social “levelling” will miraculously make things better.

My goodness.

These sorts of tales and parables have been told and told and told since the dawn of time.

“Hunker down in the winter”

“Plant in the springtime”

“Reap what you sew in the summer time”

“And prepare for the next winter in the fall [autumn] time”

This is not new.

But it is unwelcome wisdom for those who need the lessons when they have failed to heed previous lessons.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Being in business allows for great opportunity to provide for your family and for your future.

Being in business provides for an opportunity to support your community, with employment opportunities.

But being in business should be a privilege.

An earned privilege.

Being in business should never be considered a right of passage.

It is an opportunity to be cherished.

It should never be taken for granted….

If you’re having trouble, and you want to know why, take a look in the mirror.

That’s where the answers to your questions will be.

*****

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*****

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You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order

*****

The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

 

The Best Ways Of Helping Your Patients During These Difficult Times

The Best Ways Of Helping Your Patients During These Difficult Times

With the restrictions being applied and recommended to dental practice at these times comes difficulties and opportunities.

At present we cannot as dentists be treating everybody and every patient in any way that we want to, as we did before.

There are huge expectations from the community and from authorities that dentists act appropriately to protect the general public from the COVID-19 virus.

And dental practices need to be mindful of their responsibilities.

The dental profession has a role to play

The public look to the dental profession to be intelligent and to act responsibly.

That is why, two weeks ago in Sydney, the Australian Dental Industry decided to close its exhibition to the dental profession one day early.

Because the public expected dentists to “know better”, and not to congregate in large groups.

And so the organisers ended the exhibition early, despite the fact that government restrictions on large gatherings were not going to come into force until AFTER the exhibition was due to be completed.

It was the correct thing for the profession to be seen to be doing.

At that time.

And now the profession needs to be seen to be leading.

The Australian Dental Association has listed a series of “levels” of practice relating to and depending on the status of the COVID-19 virus in the community.

These levels have been created to limit those areas of dental practice that are seen to be less urgent, and are also seen to be increasing the possibility of spread of the virus.

And although there appears to be no “official” instruction from any official regulatory authority, the profession is being seen to be acting appropriately and adopting these guidelines and levels AHEAD OF TIME, and not after the fact, which I think is a good thing.

Whether a dental practice is or is not in a financial position to limit its scope of practice or shut down or not is really irrelevant in this current climate of uncontrolled virus spread.

The profession must be seen to be doing all that it can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Sadly though, there are some dentists out there who do NEED THE CASH, every last cent, and are behaving accordingly.

I’ve told the story for ten years now how Dr Omer Reed said to me in 2010 that ninety-five percent of dentists reaching the age of sixty-five cannot afford to retire and need to keep on working.

And that’s what is happening here sadly….

Most dentists do not have a stockpile of cash put away to use during emergency times such as these.

And so, difficult decisions are being needed to be made…

Seek professional help

It’s said that a lawyer who defends himself in court has a fool for a client.

And the phrase, “Physician heal thyself” is a tongue-in-cheek poke at medical doctors who treat their own ailments rather than seeking a colleague’s advice.

By the same token, a business owner WITH A COACH, is more likely to make better decisions than a business owner without a coach.

What I’m seeing

I’m seeing a lot of dentists out there closing their dental practices and CANCELLING their patient appointments.

What the smart dentists are doing

The smarter more savvy dentists are not closing their practice.

These smarter dentists are staying open so that callers to their practice can be advised of the best things to do.

Many phone calls to a dental practice from new patients are about non-urgent treatment that can be scheduled at a later date.

And although we don’t know EXACTLY when the restrictions to practice will be lifted, we do know that they will be lifted.

And so the smart dentists out there are scheduling appointments for new patients and for existing patients to some specific time in the future, knowing that it’s easier to reschedule an already made appointment, as opposed to making and creating an appointment that has never been made.

*****

If you’d like to know the best things to say to your patients, both new and existing, during these difficult times, then be on the webinar I’ll be doing on Tuesday afternoon 4:00pm AEST Sydney time with Jayne Bandy, where we will be covering the very latest things to do and not to do with your dental practice in these difficult and daunting times.

For more up to date information, join Jayne Bandy and me on a LIVE webinar at 4.00pm AEST [Sydney time] today:

COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS LATEST UPDATE, including The Best Ways Of Helping Your Patients During These Difficult Times

Important Webinar helping all Dental Practices survive the Coronavirus Pandemic

CLICK HERE to join the webinar

The Best Ways Of Helping Your Patients During These Difficult Times

Ten Super-Productive Things That You Can Do During Potential Downtimes And Bonus Times….

These are challenging times….

A lot of us today are being challenged with the big question of

“WHAT TO DO?”

during these uncertain times….

A number of us are going to struggle to survive over the next few weeks and months.

Here’s what you should be doing today and tomorrow:

Firstly, you should be calling your creditors and your accountant…. TODAY!!

Many creditors out there will be quite happy to offer you the lender, some leniency, during difficult times.

Banks don’t want to be selling off your home or your business during these times.

Everyone knows that these are going to be tough times, but they will end.

And your lenders know this.

So when things improve, the banks want the people who know those assets to still have those possessions.

Not someone else.

And after all, in difficult times, who in their right mind is going to be wanting to buy your business?

Who are the banks going to sell you up to?

Talk to your banks…. They really are there to help you.

And talk to your accountants…. Your accountant can help you negotiate any tax debts you have… the tax office is also cognisant that they want you back up and successful, so that you can pay more tax in the future.

The tax office would rather defer today’s tax debt [that you have] when times are tough, so that you can pay them back in full down the track when times improve.

The tax office will not benefit from bankrupting you.

Now what to do with your spare time when times are challenging…

Here are some other things you can do.

Firstly, you need to plan out your time.

If you have to close your business, your practice, for a week, or two, or four, or more, make a plan as to how you want to spend your time, profitably.

You might find that you have suddenly been given some extra time.

Here’s what I’d be doing:

Firstly, I’d make a list of the things that you need to do.

Plan it.

What do you want to spend your time doing?

Maybe improve your fitness?
Maybe read a few books?
Maybe work on your business plan…

What about some time out?
Some meditation?
Watch some movies?
Do a jigsaw?
Have a regular chat time with your friends and family

Whatever you do, stick to a routine –

Write yourself up a schedule which covers your available time for work as well as time for distractions including family time. Try to go to bed and get up at a similar time each day so that your body gets the sleep it needs. Provide time in your schedule to do nothing and to celebrate getting things completed.

Embrace fresh air:

Go for a walk.

Do it regularly.

Do it every day….

And try to walk a little further each day.

Start each day with a walk and see how good your day will feel…

The more you can exercise the healthier you will feel.

Controllables

Watch out for thieves of your time.

Don’t get stuck watching too much news.

Limit your exposure to negative people and negative thoughts.

And limit your time on social media…

Daily Plan

If you don’t have a plan, then start planning your business and your life.

Work out what you want your life and your business to look like, into the future.

Then plan the timeline between now and that future.

Chunk it down…work on baby steps.

There has never been a better time than now to build a plan..

Stop Selling

Don’t focus on making sales.

Focus on helping people solve their problems.

Build a mindset around helping, not around selling.

Try and be a friend to your customers.

In your home, construct individual time out spaces –

A lot of us are not used to living twenty-four hours a day with each other and with family members, so delegate specific time out spaces in your home where each person can go to be alone. This should be different from your work space and your relax space. Find your spaces and enjoy them.

Give yourself permission to laugh and talk about non-pandemic related things

Take some time out.

See the funny side about things that are happening. Create situations each day that will lead to laughter.

Take the time out to learn more about yourself and others by having deep conversations about all manner of things.

Remember, this will end…you will get through this and your positive attitude will rub off on others, helping them.

*****

For more up to date information, join Jayne Bandy and me on a LIVE webinar at 4.30pm AEST [Sydney time] today:

COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: END OF WEEK NEWS….

END OF WEEK UPDATE: ALL of the URGENT STEPS all Dental Practices need to be following to survive the Corona Virus Pandemic

CLICK HERE to join the webinar

The Best Ways Of Helping Your Patients During These Difficult Times

The Best Thing To Tell Your Patients During Difficult Times Like These: The Latest Information

Well, here in Australia today, on Monday March 23, our country has just started stage 1 of a lockdown strategy to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19.

As of midday today following the Prime Minister’s announcement last night, all club, pubs sporting venues, churches, cinemas, gyms and casinos shut their doors.

Restaurants and cafes are also closed, but are allowed to serve takeaway.

The Australian Dental Association has released an updated Guidance on Dental Treatment during COVID-19 Pandemic

In that document, the Federal ADA has carefully outlined a process for the dental profession to move forward responsibly during this time.

Of primary importance is the direction to the profession that:

“Dentists should exercise clinical judgement to determine whether to provide care to patients in the context of:

 

  • their specific dental needs
  • their overall health
  • the ability to provide dental care safely for patients and dental team members
  • the current COVID-19 situation in your area
  • the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)”

Primarily, in my opinion, the importance of whether to treat or not is determined by the patient’s overall health, and their specific dental need.

The document suggests we are in Operation Level 2 [Reduce] and the Services that can be performed are:

Some clinically necessary routine dental treatment using standard precautions for people who do not meet epidemiological/clinical criteria for COVID-19.

Urgent dental treatment using standard precautions for people who do not meet epidemiological or clinical criteria for COVID-19

Emergency dental treatment for:

  • –  patients with confirmed COVID-19*
  • –  suspected COVID-19 cases* who meet epidemiological/clinical criteria

* Manage as per ADA COVID-19 Guidelines

The document goes on to suggest that in Operation Level 2 [Reduce], the Services are Restricted Services:

Defer urgent dental treatment for suspected cases of COVID-19 who meet epidemiological/clinical criteria until COVID-19 status is confirmed.

Defer routine dental treatment that is considered to be non-urgent and will not impact on the dental or general health of the patient.

Also of great importance is this statement:

Dentists should exercise clinical judgement to determine whether to provide care to patients in the context of:

  • the ability to provide dental care safely for patients and dental team members

Based on what we’ve seen in society with changes in behaviours and recommendations so far due to pandemic mathematics [such as crowd gatherings, safe distances, and touching], it would be apparent that the restrictions on dental practice WILL PROCEED to Level 3 [Restrict] and probably Level 4 [Eliminate].

Level 3 [Restrict]

Services that can be performed:

Only urgent dental treatment using standard precautions for people who do not meet epidemiological/clinical criteria for COVID-19

Emergency dental treatment for:

  • –  patients with confirmed COVID-19*
  • –  suspected COVID-19 cases* who meet epidemiological/clinical criteria

* Manage as per ADA COVID-19 Guidelines

Level 3 [Restrict]

Restricted services:

Defer routine dental treatment using standard precautions for people who do not meet epidemiological or clinical criteria for COVID-19.

Defer urgent dental treatment for suspected cases of COVID-19 who meet epidemiological or clinical criteria until COVID-19 status is confirmed

And finally:

Level 4 [Eliminate]

Services that can be performed:

Only urgent dental treatment using standard precautions for people who do not meet Emergency dental treatment for:

  • –  patients with confirmed COVID-19*
  • –  suspected COVID-19 cases* who meet epidemiological/clinical criteria

* Manage as per ADA COVID-19 Guidelines

Level 4 [Eliminate]

Restricted services:

Defer routine and urgent dental treatment using standard precautions for people who do not meet epidemiological or clinical criteria for COVID-19.

Defer urgent dental treatment for suspected cases of COVID-19 who meet epidemiological or clinical criteria until COVID-19 status is confirmed

Our biggest concern I believe at present is whether the window of opportunity of performing routine treatment on patients who do not meet epidemiological/clinical criteria for COVID-19 is worth the risk.

It is said that for every case of COVID-19 reported there are at least 10 cases of COVID-19 out there in society that are unreported and could be, what has been classed as an asymptomatic super-spreader

A super-spreader [of any disease] is described as someone able to infect others more easily.

Super-spreaders may not even become ill with the virus.

As a health care professional, and with a moral obligation to society, it is each dentist’s duty to assess the risks of each and every procedure they perform as to whether they cause increased possibility of the spread of Coronavirus, or not.

It is for this reason that the Federal ADA president has recommended:

“The ADA’s advice is that dental practices should immediately restrict dental treatment to non-aerosol generating procedures and consider the type of patients that receive treatment wherever possible (Level 2) restrictions”

ADA NSW President Kathleen Matthews has also recommended:

“ADA NSW is now recommending that dentists minimise the provision of routine dental treatment until 30 April 2020.” 

And from ADA Queensland President Norah Ayad

“First and foremost, we must always prioritise the safety of the community and recognise our responsibility to reduce the risk of transmission and play a vital role in reducing the burden on the health system. Dentistry is an essential service however we must recognise that the full scope of dentistry is not. We are acutely aware of the level of concern in the dental community regarding the provision of dental treatment and possible associated risks to patients, practitioners and support staff.

Consistent with international guidelines the level as assessed by ADA puts current restrictions at Level 2.

Given the level of community transmission in Queensland, we recommend dentists start preparing to implement level 3 restrictions as the situation is rapidly evolving.” 

It is my belief that further restrictions to dental practice and treatment are imminent.

At this stage, we as dentists need to do what we believe necessary to treat those screened patients who need treatment most urgently, with due consideration to NOT to be ignoring the channels of spread of the disease as well as due consideration to the safety of our patients and of our staff, by them using the recommended Personal Protective Equipment [PPE].

Under the current circumstances, patients are much safer in a dental practice than they would be in a hospital.

*****

For more up to date information, join Jayne Bandy and me on a LIVE webinar at 4pm AEST [Sydney time] today:

COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Latest NEWS….

10 URGENT STEPS all Dental Practices need to be following to SURVIVE during the Corona Virus Pandemic

CLICK HERE to join the webinar

The Best Ways Of Helping Your Patients During These Difficult Times

Carrying On Your Dental Business During The Coronavirus Pandemic: Part 1

The big question at the moment in the dental industry in Australia is whether or not dentists should continue seeing patients for treatment during the precautionary times of the Coronavirus pandemic.

As of Wednesday evening here in Australia society is being warned to practice self-isolation as much as possible as a precautionary measure and to maintain a 1.5 metre safe distance away from fellow humans where possible.

We are told that shaking hands and hugging as means of greeting are now inappropriate, and must cease.

These practices allow the easy spread of Covid-19, and must stop.

In these times.

Some dental associations and state authorities in the USA are recommending for dental practices to cease regular appointments.

The reasons for caution and possible change of routine:

As far as I can see there are two reasons for change.

Firstly, as a profession we need to be seen to be helping to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus throughout society.

Information to hand at the moment is that the Covid-19 virus can remain active away from the human body for time frames of several hours. [See the research attached below on BBC news quoting research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.].

Putting it simply, the use of ultrasonic scalers and high speed drills on dental patients who may not know they are infected with Covid-19 will create an aerosol spray that could propagate their infection onto dental office surfaces, clothing, and dental office employees.

As such, from the research, in my opinion, by carrying on the usual practice of dentistry in rooms not set up with the correct airflow, we could be putting our dental staff at risk of infection.

And unwittingly, their families and friends that they come in contact with could easily also become infected.

However, in my opinion, the use of public places, and touching common surfaces in public places, also contains added risk of infection.

But, if we as dentists are practicing safe procedures that do not, and has not resulted over the years in the spread of Hepatitis B, one could easily suggest that those measures in place are therefore sufficient to not spread Covid-19.

Only time will tell….

But, what would happen to any business or industry that an outbreak of Coronavirus was traced to?

Would there be a public shaming of that industry?

Especially at times when other industries are practicing less populous practices that are significantly more socially responsible?

What would happen if an outbreak of Coronavirus in a retirement village was traced back to someone from that community visiting a dental practice for treatment?

The news this week:

An email on Wednesday April 18 from the Australian Dental Association, is suggesting for dentists to proceed with a “business as usual” approach.

The email read:

Since the last time I was in contact, the situation regarding COVID-19 has changed considerably.  

Over the last 24 hours, we’ve seen mixed messages from international dental regulators and associations about the potential disruption of dental services, deferral of all non-essential treatment and forced closures.  

Understandably, this has caused confusion and distress about what this means for us as business owners, employees, contractors, academics, researchers and students, and as an entire profession.  

Last night, we called a meeting with ADA Branch Presidents and CEOs from every state and territory. The following was taken into consideration:

  1. The environments in the UK and US, while sharing some similarities, are not identical to the one in Australia.
  2. It’s vital that information and resources are prepared with consideration of the Australian context.
  3. We have some of the most rigorous infection prevention and control standards in the world.
  4. The Federal Health Minister’s office has confirmed that essential health services including dental will continue to operate as normal. There is no current advice or mandate from the Federal Government, AHPRA, or the Dental Board that suggests dental services should be limited or ceased.
  5. The ADA must continue to dedicate our resources to managing both the wider implications of COVID-19 on dental practices through resources and information, and to ensuring the availability of emergency masks. 
  6. While at this time there is no requirement that dental services reduce or cease, we will be developing contingency plans to assist practices in the event the advice of the Health Department changes.  


For now, provided you’re keeping across the advice available on the ADA website (
www.ada.org.au/COVID-19) and from the Department of Health, you can continue to practice to our usual high standards.   

The ADA team from around the country are collaborating to support the huge number of support requests we’re receiving, while rapidly developing resources and information based on expert advice across infection control, human resources, and finance. 

This is approach in Australia is in distinct contrast to the Ohio Dental Association website posting on Monday March 16:

Gov. DeWine recommends COVID-19 actions for dental offices

by ODA Staff
3/16/2020

Governor Mike DeWine contacted the Ohio Dental Association and Ohio State Dental Board and asked for our help in addressing the spread of COVID-19.

These recommendations to the dental profession are intended to reduce the risk of patients’ exposure to COVID-19 (coronavirus) to preserve Personal Protective Equipment and supplies, while still allowing access to necessary and emergency dental services that will maintain the oral health of the citizens of Ohio and keep them out of hospital Emergency Rooms.

Governor DeWine has requested the following: 

A review of inventories and identification of any surplus personal protective equipment and supplies. Once identified, contact your local Emergency Management Agency about sharing these goods with local hospitals and medical clinics for COVID-19 patients and clinicians. EMA contact list can be found here: https://webeoctraining.dps.ohio.gov/ohiocountyEMADirectorList/countyemalist_web.aspx

Please reschedule elective procedures including but not limited to: 

  • Any cosmetic or aesthetic procedures, such as veneers, teeth bleaching, or cosmetic bonding
  • All routine hygiene appointments
  • Any orthodontic procedures not including those that relieve pain and infection or restore oral function or are trauma-related
  • Initiation of any crowns, bridges, or dentures that do not address or prevent pain or restore normal oral functioning
  • Any periodontal plastic surgery
  • Extraction of asymptomatic non-carious teeth
  • Recall visits for periodontally healthy patients
  • Delay all appointments for high risk patients, including ASA 2 and 3 patients, unless it is an emergency

By sharing supplies we are directly supporting our fellow clinicians as they undertake the greatest viral threat in modern history. By rescheduling elective procedures we are doing our part to prevent community spread.

We urge you to undertake the two above strategies and consider the following additional measures: 

  • Use cell phone triage – use the cell phone to take a picture of the area and text to the dentist
  • Have a detailed questionnaire/conversation before scheduling appointments and prior to any procedure about flu like symptoms, travel abroad for self and family/friends/co-workers etc. to permit a thorough evaluation of the patient
  • Consider taking the temperature of the patient at the outset
  • Reconsider scheduling high risk patients unless they need emergency treatment
  • Careful evaluation of the need for scheduling of ASA 2 & 3 patients
  • Use of 1% hydrogen peroxide rinse prior to examination of the oral cavity by the patient to reduce microbial load
  • Use of rubber dam isolation & high volume suction to limit aerosol in treatment procedures
  • Proper disinfection protocol between patients with a possible repeat of the protocol for a 2nd time.

To prevent over-crowding of waiting areas or the possible spread of infection:

  • Consider having patients wait in their cars instead of the waiting areas to prevent inadvertent spread of the virus (call patient when surgical area is ready for treatment)
  • Consider staggering appointment times to reduce waiting room exposure
  • Consider rescheduling elective procedures on ASA 2 & 3 patients (https://www.asahq.org/standards-and-guidelines/asa-physical-status-classification-system)
  • Have front desk staff take measures to prevent exposure
  • Have sterilization staff, lab technicians and auxiliary staff take adequate measures to prevent exposure
  • Limit access to waiting room use to only patients. Accompanying individuals have to wait in their respective transportation.
  • Remove all magazines/toys etc from waiting area to prevent contamination.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during these difficult times. We will continue to provide resources and updates for dental offices as they become available.

Coronavirus Resources:

Check back here for more details as they become available. 

This information is being provided as a public service during the coronavirus outbreak.

This BBC article [published at https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200317-covid-19-how-long-does-the-coronavirus-last-on-surfaces ] on March 17 2020 by Richard Gray was edited on 18 March 2020 to add the fact that the research paper by Neeltje van Doremalen and colleagues has now been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Like many respiratory viruses, including flu, Covid-19 can be spread in tiny droplets released from the nose and mouth of an infected person as they cough. A single cough can produce up to 3,000 droplets. These particles can land on other people, clothing and surfaces around them, but some of the smaller particles can remain in the air. There is also some evidence that the virus is also shed for longer in faecal matter, so anyone not washing their hands thoroughly after visiting the toilet could contaminate anything they touch.

It is worth noting that, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, touching a surface or object with the virus and then touching one’s own face “is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads”. Even so, the CDC, the World Health Organization and others health authorities, have emphasised that both washing one’s hands and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily are key in preventing Covid-19’s spread. So although we still don’t know exactly how many cases are being caused directly by contaminated surfaces, experts advise exercising caution.

One aspect that has been unclear is exactly how long SARS-CoV-2, the name of the virus that causes the disease Covid-19, can survive outside the human body. Some studies on other coronaviruses, including Sars and Mers, found they can survive on metal, glass and plastic for as long as nine days, unless they are properly disinfected. Some can even hang around for up to 28 days in low temperatures.

Coronaviruses are well known to be particularly resilient in terms of where they can survive. And researchers are now beginning to understand more about how this affects the spread of the new coronavirus. (Read more about the global fight against Covid-19.)

Neeltje van Doremalen, a virologist at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), and her colleagues at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, have done some of the first tests of how long SARS-CoV-2 can last for on different surfaces. Their study, which has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that the virus could survive in droplets for up to three hours after being coughed out into the air. Fine droplets between 1-5 micrometres in size – about 30 times small than the width of a human hair – can remain airborne for several hours in still air.

It means that the virus circulating in unfiltered air conditioning systems will only persist for a couple of hours at the most, especially as aerosol droplets tend to settle on surfaces faster in disturbed air.

But the NIH study found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus survives for longer on cardboard – up to 24 hours – and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces. (Learn how to clean your mobile phone properly.)

The findings suggest the virus might last this long on door handles, plastic-coated or laminated worktops and other hard surfaces. The researchers did find, however, that copper surfaces tended to kill the virus in about four hours.

But there is a speedier option: research has shown that coronaviruses can be inactivated within a minute by disinfecting surfaces with 62-71% alcohol, or 0.5% hydrogen peroxide bleach or household bleach containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite. Higher temperatures and humidity also tend to result in other coronaviruses dying quicker, although research has shown that a related coronavirus that causes Sars could be killed by temperatures above 56°C or 132°F (hotter than even a bath scalding enough to cause injury) at a rate of about 10,000 viral particles every 15 minutes.

Although there is no data on how many virus particles will be in a single droplet coughed up by an infected person, research on the flu virus suggests smaller droplets can contain many tens of thousands of copies of the influenza virus. However, this can vary depending on the virus itself, where in the respiratory tract it is found and at what stage in the infection the person is.

The researchers did find, however, that copper surfaces tended to kill the virus in about four hours

On clothing and other surfaces harder to disinfect, it is not yet clear how long the virus can survive. The absorbent natural fibres in cardboard, however, may cause the virus to dry up more quickly than on plastic and metal, suggests Vincent Munster, head of the virus ecology section at Rocky Mountain Laboratories and one of those who led the NIH study.

“We speculate due to the porous material, it desiccates rapidly and might be stuck to the fibres,” he says. Changes in temperature and humidity may also affect how long it can survive, and so may explain why it was less stable in suspended droplets in the air, as they are more exposed. “[We’re] currently running follow-up experiments to investigate the effect of temperature and humidity in more detail.”

The ability of the virus to linger for so long only underlines the importance of hand hygiene and cleaning of surfaces, according to Munster.

“There is a potential for this virus to be transmitted via a variety of routes,” he says.

* This article was edited on 18 March 2020 to add the fact that the research paper by Neeltje van Doremalen and colleagues has now been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It has also been clarified that the virus’s survival on natural fibres has only been tested on cardboard.

Just for the record…

The hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body for at least 7 days.

According to the World Health Organisation, the hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body for at least 7 days. During this time, the virus can still cause infection if it enters the body of a person who is not protected by the vaccine. The incubation period of the hepatitis B virus is 75 days on average, but can vary from 30 to 180 days. The virus may be detected within 30 to 60 days after infection and can persist and develop into chronic hepatitis B.

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-b

The HIV virus cannot survive very well outside the body.

Even if HIV can survive outside the body, does that necessarily mean that a person who touches or comes into casual contact with infected blood or semen runs the risk of infection? The answer to that question is almost universally “no.”

https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-long-can-hiv-live-outside-of-the-body-48891

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/transmission.html

HIV isn’t spread through saliva, and there is no risk of transmission from scratching because no body fluids are transferred between people.

HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host. It is not spread by

 

  • Mosquitoes, ticks, or other insects.

 

  • Saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of an HIV-positive person.
  • Hugging, shaking hands, sharing toilets, sharing dishes, or closed-mouth or “social” kissing with someone who is HIV-positive.

All suggestions of socially responsible isolation practices by authorities are being put into place to reduce the anticipated EXCESSIVE demand on our medical resources so that everybody who does get infected can be treated appropriately and effectively.

Countries with high mortality rates associated with the Coronavirus are where they are because they failed to implement socially responsible isolation practices.

Although these practices may seem brutal for businesses and society, they are essential for lowering the impact of this pandemic.

We live in interesting times.

Stay tuned….

There are so many other smart things you should be doing during these uncertain times, to sure up your dental practice and to prevent patients from bleeding out of your office [figuratively speaking].

To make sure that you are doing all that you can, please join me and Jayne Bandy on a live webinar next Tuesday April 24 at 400pm AEST Sydney time when we will be discussing the 10 URGENT STEPS all Dental Practices need to be following to SURVIVE during the Corona Virus Pandemic, including an update on current recommendations.

Here is the link: Click here to register for the webinar

The Best Ways Of Helping Your Patients During These Difficult Times

Important Customer Service Tips To Implement In Your Dental Practice During The Covid-19 Emergency

Here are some important practices that you and your dental team need to be on top of during this latest wave of the Corona Virus Covid-19 Emergency.

When Patients Are Visiting Your Dental Practice

The current protocol is to screen patients by questioning them as to whether they could possibly have become infected with Covid-19.

These questions are:

  • • Do you have any flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, fever, cough, or shortness of breath?
  • • Have you recently travelled overseas?
  • • Have you been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of Covid-19?

Also let your patients be aware that employees are screened with the same questions.

Show your patients at your practice the preventive measures you are implementing.

Let your patients know the how and why it is business as usual.

What to say to patients when they call on the phone with concerns and fear about the Corona Virus.

Explain to these callers that you are screening all patients coming to your dental practice as per the WHO guidelines.

Explain to your patients that leaving things until a later date may cause irreparable damage that may not be able to be addressed quickly on a future date.

Explain to your patients the importance of their dental treatment and the reasons they are better off having that treatment done now rather than later.

Be Available

Some dental practices look at quit times as being a time to close up shop.

We don’t know how long Covid-19 is going to have its effect on society’s day to day processes.

Make sure that there is always an opportunity for new and existing patients to receive treatment at your practice.

You don’t want to miss out on seeing significant treatment because you decided to work less hours.

Use Time Wisely

Smart and intelligent dental teams look to work on their communication skills, learn new protocols, refine their processes, and educate when opportunity presents itself.

Take time to “sharpen your saw”.

There are so many more….

There are so many other smart things you should be doing during these uncertain times, to sure up your dental practice and to prevent patients from bleeding out of your office [figuratively speaking].

To make sure that you are doing all that you can, please join me and Jayne Bandy on a live webinar today at 400pm AEST Sydney time when we will be discussing the 10 URGENT STEPS all Dental Practices need to be following to SURVIVE during the Corona Virus Pandemic.

Here is the link: Click here to register for the webinar

 

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