Travel in a Coronavirus world: The new normal

My hands are dried and starting to crack from cleaning and washing. Should we worry about bacteria mutating from over cleaning?

Doha was an eye opener.

I think I had a false sense of security when we were still in the States. We were vigilant but hadn’t used our masks or gloves. Before deplaning in Doha, we suited up.

We had another layover and went to the parent/kid/family area of the Al Mourjan lounge, where there are cubicles the entire family can enjoy.

The girls grabbed wipes and went to work. We wiped down the cubicle from top to bottom.

While we were in the States, we saw the rigorous disinfecting process. In Doha, not so much. The cubicle we were in had dried on food on one of the couches, so they weren’t disinfecting as much as I’d seen elsewhere.

While waiting, a biomedical engineering friend corrected our process for putting on gloves and masks. To summarize:

  • Sanitize hands before putting gloves on
  • Wipe gloves down intermittently
  • Don’t touch your face with a gloved hand that has touched anything
  • After putting on gloves, put on face masks
  • Ensure mouth and nose are covered
  • Don’t touch the mask once it’s on and then touch other things
  • Once in, leave it on and don’t move it

She had more instructions for masks, depending on the type. Ours are washable, so I will wash them when we reach our destination.

Regardless of mask efficacy, they work brilliantly for reminding us not to touch our faces! The kids hate them, but their misery keeps them from touching things.

The lounge in Doha was busier than DFW, but I did not see the rigorous cleaning process. Food workers wore gloves, but I did not see anyone in masks or wiping the counters/serving utensils down. When one woman left her table, someone removed her trash, but she was only wearing one glove and did not wipe the table.

We confined the girls to the cubicle, except when I needed to run 7yo to get her energy out. We used napkins to avoid touching things, but mostly we resorted to washing hands any time someone touched something.

Our A350 only boarded 20 minutes prior to departure. It wasn’t until the doors closed that we figured out why–the plane was empty with more empty seats than filled seats.

Upon landing in Johannesburg, we were told to remain seated until health inspectors came through the cabin to take temperature readings. Everyone must have passed, because we were allowed to deplane.

This is it. The new normal. Disinfecting constantly, temperature inspections, everyone looking at you if you cough or sneeze. We are quickly getting used to this life.

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