Your home can be a prime source of coronavirus infection


The man’s wife is driving him crazy. He’s 57. Shukan Gendai (Aug 21-28) gives him the pseudonym Kento Toyojima. They’d always been a harmonious couple. Then COVID-19 came between them.

“She’s terrified of getting infected,” Toyojima tells the magazine. “She checks up on every little thing I do.”

He works for a printing company, and goes to the office every day. “When I come home I have to tell her every little thing I did, everywhere I went, everyone I met. If I had lunch with someone she heaps abuse on me: ‘You’re careless!’”

His vexation is understandable – but his wife has a point too. A lot of attention has focused lately on the “nightless city” – bars, host and hostess clubs and so on – as a prime source of infection, but more dangerous still, says Shukan Gendai – in fact the most dangerous of all – is the home. Statistics bear this out. In the week from July 29 to Aug 4, 175 infections in Tokyo were recorded as originating in night spots – as against 239 originating at home.

The couple’s two kids walk to school, where life is carefully supervised, and the wife stays home. Toyojima, then, is the only one who deals with the outside world more or less normally, taking trains, meeting people and so on. What can he do – withdraw from life altogether? Of course not – and so he runs certain risks, which his wife, he feels, magnifies out of all proportion.

“She’s sensitive to the point of hysteria,” he says. “She treats me as though I were the virus itself.”

Home from work at 8 p.m., he reaches for the door knob and suddenly freezes – he must wipe it first! Then there’s his briefcase – fortunately he remembered before walking into the house with it, which would have triggered a spousal explosion. Sighing, he removes from it the documents he needs and tosses the bag into the car.

Once inside, he heads straight for the bath – his wife will not greet him otherwise. Only then does the family sit down to dinner.

“Hysterical” this may be, and one can sympathize with the harassed husband, but Shukan Gendai gives the wife her due. She’s quite right, for example, about door knobs. Viruses live long on metal surfaces – 24 to 48 hours, as opposed to 8 hours on tile. Wiping the knob before touching it hardly comes naturally, but it is common sense.

Her insistence on separating her husband’s laundry, though, seems excessive. “There’s no case anywhere in the world,” says a qualified expert the magazine speaks to, of viral transmission via clothing.

All things considered, it seems better to err on the side of caution. “Don’t’s” abound: don’t share chopsticks, or eat off a common plate, or handle the TV remote control with sticky fingers, or sit on a toilet seat without sanitizing it, or sleep in the same room with someone if you can help it – if not, keep a minimum 2 meters between you.

Handwashing should be thorough and frequent. If carried on in normal times it would seem like a fetish. The question arises: will we be able to shake these corona-habits when normal times return?

 Shukan Gendai draws a melancholy conclusion: “The more you think about it, the more avoiding affection at home seems almost impossible.” The stress and anxiety of trying are themselves a drain on health and well-being. Where does that leave us? Stressed and anxious – and vulnerable.

© Japan Today

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I know doctor do sterilises before entering and showers before doing anything.

But for a low risk employee it seems excessive, don't let fear take control of your life.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

For those many marriages that lost the sparkle and luster long, long ago, this is going to be particularly draining. Being made to feel like a virus in your own home. Hard slog fellas. Cop it at work, cop it at home , eat , sleep , repeat. Gotta hand it to these guys. It doesn’t look too much like the privilege of patriarchy to me! Yikes.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Are there any examples of someone contracting Covid from a toilet seat? If you wash your hands after using the lavatory this is not an issue.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

This pandemic is putting a lot of strain on people over here in the States. I see most of the neighbors getting really stressed out. My wife and I decided early on that we would live or die together. We are retired, and stay away from others as much as practical. We mostly stay away from the rest of the family, and when we do see them we mask up and social distance. There is a balance we try to maintain between taking precautions, and not stressing out too much. We hope for the best, and try our best, but our age we are not among the group with the best chance of surviving an infection.

I think things would be much better if we had a competent President who cared about the people.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

So their sex life must be great?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What Ricky and Glenn said

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Your home can be a prime source of coronavirus infection

This has been reported worldwide and proven with credible empirical studies. It implies the ineffectiveness of hard lockdown on the virus spread.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Of course if one in the household got infected it would be almost impossible for the other members of the household to not get infected.

But the original source of infection would be outside the house.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am not for lockdowns but they are effective because if people are mostly confined to their homes chances of getting infected outside are lessened and if already infected then infection will be confined mostly to the home

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Viruses don't move, people do.

Social distancing and wash your hands. Wash clothes as soon as you get in if you have been in crowded environment, basically any commute and work environment. Would be better to sanitise his hands before wiping down the door knob as who knows what he had to touch during the working day.

Sensible precautions by all means but remember the mental health element as well, stressing your partner out can cause health problems as bad as the virus and being unreasonably paranoid will do you no good either.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wonder at times if we'd have less problems, more harmony & an enjoyable life if we ignored the media & just went by common sense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hmmm. I would suspect that he might be one of the Japanese men all too frequently observed not washing his hands after using the toilet. If so this mid-corona environment is going to be foreign territory and culture shock for our man Kento.

His wife, who stays home to care for the children, cook the meals and do the domestic side of things, seems to have a better handle on the reality of the pandemic situation and will likely have spent additional energy sanitizing and protecting her family. Then he waltzes in with a never-you-mind attitude and destroys (read devalues) all her conscientious efforts.

If after all this these months of new corona life the 57 year-old has been unable to adapt to a few basic up-ticks in his game to protect his wife and children, then the problem rests with him. He can't deal with his briefcase (which can be sanitized easily enough) and he can't deal with a door knob and the clothes and the other relatively small, considerate things he needs to do to protect his family. Really?

This man is not harassed. He is inconsiderate of others beyond belief. Is his name Botchan not Kento?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

talaraedokkoSep. 5  07:52 pm JST

I wonder at times if we'd have less problems, more harmony & an enjoyable life if we ignored the media & just went by common sense.

The media certainly do have a lot to answer for. I have been in the process of limiting my exposure to SNS and news, I don't need everyone else's crap weighing down my shoulders and cluttering my head. That part is easy.

Unfortunately though, there are just so many people who lack common sense the other part is hard.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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