COVID-19 has killed more than half a million people in the world and has infected more than 10 million world-wide, according to the Guardian last month. The virus spread from Wuhan, China in December 2019 and within months was in every country in the world at an alarming speed.

Germaphobes leading the way in pandemic health and safety

Though most countries were slow to acknowledge the true devastation the virus would wreak, most nations now accept more could have been done, sooner. Today, social distancing, the wearing of masks and the obligatory hand sanitisers are part of the ‘new normal’ but it took time for many people to get used to. One group of people were ahead of the curve – these early adopters were people who have obsessive compulsive disorders who have a germ-phobia.  A phobia is an irrational fear but during a pandemic, a fear of germs magically becomes ‘rational’ and also sensible, desirable and a public duty.

Obsessive-compulsive personality traits have been estimated as 1-2 percent of the general population and the percentage of people with germ-phobia is unknown. 

Prior to the pandemic many started to think we were living with too much of a concern for hygiene. One theory suggested that our ‘overly-clean’ world was leading to more allergies because of a lack of exposure of our immune system to infections.  For example, many parents scoff at the fastidious child who will not eat  a piece of toast dropped to the floor citing the completely unscientific ’5-10 second rule’.

Cruise Line studies have now shown us can live on surfaces for up to 17 days. Aircraft’s are another vehicle perfect for transporting and spreading germs.

Maybe the pandemic has taught us to take a leaf out of the germaphobes book and put cleanliness as top priority.

Today we all are conscious of germs and aircraft cleanliness is top of mind. Now not only supermodels want to fight superbugs. We all do.

Maybe, in hindsight, we shouldn’t have rushed to ridicule the supermodel after all.