Is soap or alcohol better for hand sanitizing against Covid-19?

I have been feeling the desire to return to Mass but just don’t trust the Catholic clergy to be intelligently careful. From my pre-pandemic experience, some were sloppy and careless with colds, sometimes wiping their runny noses with their hands before dispensing the Eucharist.

Perhaps things have changed since then but it only takes one thoughtless person to spread Covid-19. I have also heard from a couple of trusted sources that other parishioners may cough near you without wearing a mask. That’s nothing new. I was dodging coughs well before the pandemic as I live with a high-risk person and didn’t want to give them the flu.

I have been told that priests use hand sanitizer before dispensing the Eucharist. I’ve also read that soap works better, with hand sanitizer only getting about 60% of the Covid-19 virus. Rather than reading a hundred different stories from Google about this, I thought I’d ask ChatGPT what it thinks. Mind you, the database at ChatGPT is a little old. Google’s upcoming Bard will use AI with current web results, which I think could be better.

Bard isn’t available yet and made a blunder during a demo that sent Google shares tumbling. So in the meantime, here’s what I got with ChatGPT:

Is soap or alcohol better for hand sanitizing against Covid-19?

Both soap and alcohol can be effective in killing the COVID-19 virus on your hands, but they work in different ways.

Soap works by breaking down the lipid membrane that surrounds the virus, which causes it to fall apart and become inactive. Properly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is an effective way to remove the virus from your hands.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers also work to kill the virus by breaking down its lipid membrane. Hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol can be effective in killing the COVID-19 virus on your hands when soap and water are not readily available.

In general, hand washing with soap and water is considered the best way to clean your hands, especially when they are visibly dirty or contaminated. However, when soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be a good alternative.

It’s important to note that hand sanitizers are not effective if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy, so it’s best to wash your hands with soap and water in those situations. Additionally, it’s important to use hand sanitizer correctly by applying enough of it to cover all surfaces of your hands and rubbing your hands together until they are dry.

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So today I blog again instead of going to Mass. I do miss the Eucharist, especially during those laggier times of the day and evening. But for now, I’ll just have to find alternatives.


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