Physician explains how to sanitize groceries, protect yourself in supermarket in viral video


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Dr. Jeffery VanWingen is a family physician in Grand Rapids, Michigan with 20 years of medical experience.

He says going to the supermarket is a likely way to pick up coronavirus, so he created a video showing techniques to sterilize groceries that’s now been viewed millions of times.

“Imagine that the groceries that you have are covered with some glitter,” Dr. VanWingen said. “And your goal at the end of this is to not have any glitter in your house, on your hands, or especially on your face.”

VanWingen splits his kitchen counter into two parts: one side for sanitized groceries and the other side for possibly contaminated groceries.

“Coronavirus can live in an aerosolized, outside the body situation, for three hours,” VanWigen said. “It can live on cardboard for one hour and it can live on plastic and metal surfaces for three days.”

If you aren’t able to take the contents of the food out of the container, VanWingen says to sanitize the container with a rag and disinfectant spray.

“On the inside, no human hands have touched this for more than a few days,” he said. “So I can just dump that and get rid of the box.”

He also says to wash fruits and vegetables like you wash your hands — 20 seconds for each piece of produce.

VanWingen says it can still be safe to order takeout. Coronavirus does not live long in food, but he says to be sure to take the wrappers off and dump the food into a clean container or plate.

Microwaving food can kill viruses, but some species of coronavirus can live in the freezer for up to two years.

“A good example would be a frozen pizza,” VanWingen said. “You bring a frozen pizza in. You’ve got the cardboard box, you’ve got some plastic wrapping. And with that, you can dump the plastic out and consider the cardboard dirty.”

The doctor’s video has been viewed 23 million times and counting. View all of his videos here.

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