Posts tagged with "University of Sydney"

Wash fruit, vegetables with soap: Virologist confirms COVID-19 survives on supermarket produce

March 27, 2020

An apple a day only will keep the doctor away if you wash it with soap and water, much as you would your hands: A virologist has confirmed that “every surface is a hazard” when it comes to COVID-19—and  he cautions supermarket customers to be particularly mindful of the loose fruit and vegetables in the store, according to the Daily Mail UK.

Timothy Newson, an associate professor at the University of Sydney specializes in infection, vaccines, and virology, told the Daily Mail that, while the virus can live on most surfaces, grocery shoppers should be particularly wary of the fruit and vegetable aisle—where customers frequently pick up the produce to see how fresh and ripe it is, and put it down again.

“We have to remember that every surface is potentially contaminated. And like with any surface there is a risk,’ Newsome explained. ‘We don’t see it as high risk because that comes from sustained contact with other people, but nonetheless it’s important to be mindful.’

‘People working in the supermarkets should be picking all of the fruit and veg up and setting it back down with protection,” he said. Luckily he noted that a large proportion of shelf stackers and general workers have been wearing gloves and disinfecting their hands at every turn.

The best course of action is to wash your fruit and vegetables with soap as soon as you bring them home, not simply relying on the high heat of cooking them to “kill” the virus.

“Wash them with warm soapy water, just as you do your hands,” he said.

Research contact: @DailyMailUK

Ask and you shall receive—but don’t expect a thank you

May 24, 2018

Common courtesy is not, well, so common anymore. Research findings released on May 23 by the University of Sydney indicate that, worldwide, people often don’t say “thank you’” when someone does a simple favor for them.

The research—conducted across Australia, Ecuador, Ghana, Italy, Laos, Poland, Russia, and the United Kingdom in the native languages of each country—found that in 1,000 instances of informal conversations among friends and families, the words “thank you” were said “in only one out of fifty occurrences.”

At the farthest end of spectrum, Ecuadorians in the study never said “thank you” when someone did them a favor.

Published in Royal Society Open Science, the findings suggest that there is an unspoken willingness by most people to cooperate with others.

“Our findings indicate a widespread assumption that saying ‘thank you’ is not necessary in the everyday contexts of our lives,” said Professor Nick Enfield of the university’s Department of Linguistics, who led the investigation—which  is part of a larger look at language and social interactions.

“When people think of social norms around gratitude, they naturally think about our interactions in formal settings, where it seems standard to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’,” said Enfield. “But in in our homes and villages – where our interactions would seem to matter most – we find people dispense with these niceties almost entirely.”

He says this does not constitute a lack of manners in most cultures—or that we are polite in public but have no manners in our own homes. “Instead,” Enfield explained, “it demonstrates that humans have an unspoken understanding we will cooperate with each other.”

The researchers found significantly higher rates of gratitude expressed among English and Italian speakers. Those whose first language is English or another Western European language were outliers, not representative of the diversity of the world’s languages and cultures.

“Everyday life works because it’s in our nature to ask for help and pay back in kind, rather than just in words,” said Enfield.

Research contact: nick.enfield@sydney.edu.au