This post is maybe a little bit unexpected but I think it will be REALLY informative. If you follow me on Instagram you know that two of my closest friends launched an amazing COVID-19 disinfecting service, Fog City Girls. (If you listen to the pod, Alex is the third member of “the sorority house” aka having two of my best friends live in my building, and we’ve had her on as a guest before). At my birthday dinner she was rattling off all of this really interesting information… I thought it was beneficial and asked her to write a guest post. If you are in Brooklyn or Manhattan I highly encourage you to check out their new business.
Besides being an amazing, female-founded business run by two of the best people I know, I love that it’s something good to have come out of all of this. Alex and Deirdre were both hit pretty hard this year. Alex was planning events which is hard to do during a pandemic, and Deirdre had to close her Charleston boutique. I’m so proud of them for creating this! Without further ado, I will say SPREAD THE WORD… and let Alex take it away from here!
Understanding COVID a Little Better.
I never expected to write a guest blog post about COVID-19. I’m not a scientist. I don’t work for the CDC, nor am I an infectious disease expert. I’m the closet science nerd who’s worked in fashion and events for the past 20 years. So why am I writing this? Because I’ve learned a tremendous amount about coronavirus and COVID-19 in the past few weeks, thanks to my disinfection business Fog City Girls. And because Grace asked me to, and I’ll do anything she says!
Let’s rewind: At the start of 2020 I was living my best life.
My career consisted of planning lavish fashion events and awards shows. In early February, I packed 500 of my closest friends into a small room during New York Fashion Week so we could air kiss and sip cocktails, crammed in like sardines. I cringe writing that now, just 7 months later.
March rolled around and the world changed.
Admittedly, at first I was the person that was calling the COVID-19 coverage a click-bait media overreaction. “Fear mongers” was my catch-phrase. “It is the flu. Yes, of course the 400-person award show on March 29th that I’m planning will happen. This will pass in 2 weeks.”
Cut to me now, launching a COVID-19 disinfection business, Fog City Girls, with my friend Deirdre. I never thought disinfection would show up on my resume. But as I’ve seen this pandemic ravage businesses large and small – hi, I work in events – and take its toll on NYC (my heart and soul), I couldn’t sit back and do nothing.
Through an Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic moment, this business came to us serendipitously. Deirdre used this incredible organic dry fogging service in Charleston in her retail store. I saw it on her Instagram stories, and got chills. I slid into her DMs, asked a couple of questions, and before we knew it, we were licensing machinery and disinfection solution to clean the Big Apple.
If you want to know more, check us out on Insta or our website fogcitygirls.com for lots of fun fog facts.
In short, our organic dry disinfection technology is a cutting-edge process that cleans a space of pathogens (including COVID) and keeps surfaces clean for up to 7 days, with no wet or sticky residue left behind. We wear a cool backpack, shoot a fogging gun, and basically feel like Ghostbusters with a dash of Charlie’s Angels.
I found myself last Friday getting certified by the American Red Cross in Bloodborne Pathogens Training with Infexion Shield COVID-19 Mitigation Training. And that’s where this post comes in, as I was regaling Grace with fun facts about the virus while out at her socially-distanced al fresco birthday dinner. I’m now the person that interrupts every conversation with “actually did you know that COVID…insert fun fact here.”
The most important thing to understand for COVID-19, or any disease or germ/bacteria/gross stuff is the Chain of Infection. This is the series of events that has to happen to enable germs to cause infections in a person. Each part is a link in the chain, and if we break a link, we can stop the infection from spreading.
Covid-19 Chain of Infection
The six chain links are:
- Infectious Agent – in this case, coronavirus
- Reservoir – where the virus lives, it can be a person or an environment
- Portal of Exit – how the virus leaves the reservoir. So if coronavirus is sitting on a door handle, and you touch the door and pick up the virus, your hand = portal of exit
- Mode of Transmission – how the germ spreads. For coronavirus this is touching surfaces or through the air
- Portal of Entry – how the germs invade the host; through wounds or cuts, being swallowed, or as commonly with coronavirus, breathing it in
- Susceptible Host – someone vulnerable to the infection, and as we have seen, coronavirus isn’t picky
Fog City Girls specializes in breaking link #4 – Mode of Transmission. But everyone can play a part in each step, which is what will ultimately end the rampant spread of COVID-19. Ready to have your mind blown with how to be an A+ chain breaker? Wash your hands and wear a mask. To quote the great Miranda Priestly, Florals, for Spring… groundbreaking.
Here are 5 things from training that stuck with me and I now irritate everyone with them.
FACT 1 – CORONAVIRUS vs COVID:
Coronavirus (or its full name, novel coronavirus 19), is the name of the virus. It comes from the Latin root “corona” which means crown, because of its spikes. The name of the disease is COVID-19, coming from COrona VIrus Disease. If you want to talk about germs on the table, those are coronavirus. If you want to talk about the illness, it is COVID.
FACT 2 – SOME NUMBERS:
It can live on inanimate surfaces for up to 9 days in the right conditions. It can be suspended in the air for up to 3 hours. And it loves humidity and moisture, and thrives in temperatures between 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Hello fall. Heat kills it, but only above around 156 degrees Fahrenheit…so the hopes of it going away in the summer, let’s just say you’d have some other major poolside problems by the time we reached those temps.
FACT 3 – MASKS:
Masks are the best way for us to prevent the spread. Repeat – masks are the best way for us (the common person) to prevent the spread. JUST WEAR ONE. I hate wearing them too. You think masks are bad? You should see my face when I have to put on a full-face respirator for disinfection. But the thing is, coronavirus doesn’t have legs and it can’t travel on its own – it hitches a ride with moisture particles. And masks are fantastic at blocking those from getting into your mouth or nose. Pop quiz – which link in the chain is that? (hint: #5).
FACT 4 – GLOVES:
Plastic gloves are only effective if you take them off whenever you change tasks. If you wear them to the grocery store, like I used to do, you have to take them off whenever you go to a new “task.” If you are shopping and touching the handle of the cart, products on the shelves, etc, all good, but don’t you dare pick up your cell phone with that same glove on. Because you’re just bringing the coronavirus from whatever you were touching to this new thing.
You’d have to remove set 1 of gloves, throw them out, touch nothing while putting on set 2 of gloves, to use your phone. Then once you’re done with your phone, remove set 2 of gloves, toss them, and put on set 3 to continue shopping. Rinse and repeat. Also tedious and wasteful. I suggest using the time at a store to not multi-task. Just do what you’re meant to do there, sanitize your hands after, then check Instagram. Speaking of sanitizing…
FACT 5 – HAND WASHING vs HAND SANITIZING:
Handwashing for 20 seconds really is the all-time best way to rid your hands of the virus, more so than hand sanitizer. This isn’t to say the sanitizer doesn’t work, you just have to use more than you think – you need to put enough of the gel on that your entire hand up to the wrist is wet with it as you rub it for 20 seconds. That’s a lot, trust me, I tried it.
At the end of the day, we’ve all probably heard these in a million different ways. Rules and guidelines change, there’s lots of different media slants out there, so ultimately, use common sense. To close out this long-winded post, my biggest plea actually comes from a more human side. I encourage everyone to follow a practice of:
More Science, Less Shaming
Now more than ever we are humans in this together. We’re all learning, let’s try being kind and supportive – the internet makes some people feel brazen in saying mean things or judging a situation they have no context on (this extends past COVID). Please consider that there are people on the other side of the computer screen, the mask, the full-face respirator, the plastic shield at the cash register. If someone is doing something you don’t feel is safe, calmly remove yourself from the situation (break that chain!), or if you need to say something, approach them in an encouraging and educational way to help them learn to follow better practices.
Thank you SO MUCH to Alex for sharing this information with us – I think it is amazingly helpful!!! (That tip about hand sanitizer blew my mind.) If you or someone you know is in Brooklyn or Manhattan and have a business (boutiques! spas! restaurants! etc.) please check out Fog City Girls. I am so proud of my friends and think this is such an incredible business.
(photography by Hannah Turner-Harts)