‘The simple fact is that if people washed their hands, there would be no norovirus,’ that’s what Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley said in an interview in Business Insider published this week.
Nope. It’s not that simple. Handwashing is a factor, but so is showing up ill, so is how surfaces are cleaned and sanitized (and with what compound). Norovirus isn’t just a handwashing or cruise patron problem. And if it was, and was so simple we wouldn’t see 20 million + illness annually in the U.S.
But personal hygiene isn’t always enough, according to Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. In addition to physical contact, the illness can also spread from an infected person’s respiratory system, which means that simply breathing the same air as an infected person can leave you vulnerable.
Huh? The virus can be aerosolized and then deposited on surfaces dozens of feet away from a vomit event – but it’s not a respiratory illness.