(ABC4 News) — With the worldwide spread of COVID-19 or the coronavirus and two cases in Utah, many are going to great lengths to avoid the spread of germs in public places. Several studies suggest that pumping gas could put you at risk of catching the virus.
According to UPI news, a study conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional showed that gas pumps are among the germiest surfaces in American cities. The study found that 71 percent of gas pump handles were found to have high levels of contamination.
ABC4 asked customers at a gas station in Holladay, Utah about their feelings on the coronavirus and what they believe gas station owners could do to cut down on germs at the pump.
This particular gas station had plastic gloves available at every station. A worker at the gas station would not go on camera but said that the gloves, which were first added to the stations for advertising purposes, have been used much more often lately.
Several people interviewed suggested adding wipes next to the individual stations to cut down on germs at the pump.
“You know how in grocery stores, they have the sanitizing wipes right by the carts? I think they should have at least one right next to the trash can or something,” Secret Whittaker said.
Whittaker said she wasn’t worried about coronavirus at first, but now that there are two cases in Utah, her opinion is beginning to change.
“My teachers are letting us know to wash our hands to keep us safe. There are new hand-sanitizing pumps on every corner of my school. Everyone is making jokes about it, but I’m making sure I’m buying hand sanitizer- one for my house, one for my bag, my locker. I work in a nursing home, so I make sure I keep one there in my personal locker at work also,” she said. “Everyone’s making memes about it, so I think everyone thinks it’s funny, but I’m taking precautions.”
Whittaker says she hopes for updates on the virus soon.
“I hope by next week, we get an update on the people in the Intermountain Hospital to see if we should be worried or not if it’s not going away or an antibiotic is not found,” she said. “If that is the case, then I think I will take even more precautions.”
Anton Stele also said that making wipes available by gas pumps could be a useful step, but said there are steps that individuals can take to avoid germs as well.
“We live in 2020,” he said. “These days everyone panics because there’s a virus going around. It can be dangerous if you get it, just like the flu… it can kill you. Just try to be careful and avoid touching door handles or make sure you wash your hands.”
Craig James said when he thinks of the coronavirus, he thinks of a disease similar to the flu.
“I would worry more about the flu because we’ve had a higher season of flu than what we had with the coronavirus. I mean, if it was running rampant, then yeah, I would worry about it, but right now I think it’s just taking care of ourselves… that should be enough…” James said.
He said having wipes available for those who are really worried about the virus might be a good idea.
As an 80-year-old with a compromised immune system, Vicki Williams said she is worried about the virus but doesn’t want it to affect her happiness.
“I have hand sanitizer and wipes in my car and in my purse, so I know that going in and opening doors where it can be germy- that’s where you have to be smart. But you can’t be obsessive about it because then it can control you. And you don’t want to do that because then, you’re not happy,” she said.
Williams said she knows she does have to be smart, but at the same time not panic or lock herself in her house. She is going to try to avoid big crowds but is not preparing as extensively as some.
“I’m not one to get all the toilet paper and water,” she said. “I think that’s silly.”
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