Wearing masks in public isn't going to be the only possible defence you can have to stop coronavirus from spreading. Even the very things that you touch quite often could be good carriers of COVID-19 and perhaps the two things that we touch the most and carry around with us everywhere at all times are our smartphones and cash.
According to recent reports the World Health Organisation (WHO) - although it later clarified that it was "misinterpreted" - currency notes or cash could help the spread of COVID-19 as they carry millions of bacteria and viruses and are touched and exchanged hundreds of times over. The viruses could stay on the money for days after exposure, so it's recommended that people should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after handling cash.
While smartphones, which are also among the dirtiest items we own, can be cleaned using a dry cloth dipped in a solution made of water and alcohol, the same cannot be recommended for cash. But there's one alternate solution that we all can "count" on -- contactless payments, which is the safer option for now or whenever possible.
Some of the most popular examples of contactless payments are Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. They come pre-installed on your Apple iPhone or on most Android smartphones, or can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Here's how you can set up Apple Pay
To use Apple Pay on your iPhone, open the Wallet app and add a debit or credit card which you want to link to your wallet. You can add the credit or debit card using the plus (+) symbol located at the top right in the Wallet app and enter the relevant card details.
Apple also offers its own credit card called Apple Card in select regions which is native to the iPhone and be used easily with Apple Pay. Once you've set up your card, paying with Apple Pay is as simple as holding the iPhone up to the point of sale (POS) terminal, and entering a passcode to approve the payment. You can also authenticate payments using FaceID.
Note that Apple Pay is completely safe and your card details will not be shared with anyone. The Wallet app is also where all your gift cards, plane tickets, and other miscellaneous tickets can be stored on your iPhone.
Meanwhile, you can also use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch, once you've set up a card on your phone. It works quite similar to the iPhone and is activated by pressing the side button to bring up the primary card and bringing the Watch near to the POS terminal.
Google Pay also works similar to Apple Pay, and it comes pre-installed on may Android phone or can be downloaded from the Play Store or Apple App Store.
Like with Apple Pay you need to add a debit or credit card in the Add Account section on the top left of the app, but be sure to select "Set up in-store payments." You also get the option to scan QR codes to remake payments in Google Pay.
Samsung Pay works similar to Apple Pay, but it's available only on certain high-end Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
All three contactless payment options are available and accepted at millions of stores throughout the world. You just need to ask or look for the contactless symbols.
Apple Pay and Google Pay can also be used on some public transport, such as the New York MTA, and on transits in Portland, Oregon.
Keep your phones clean
Now, that you know about contactless payment options to avoid germs from touching cash, you might also want to keep your phone clean. As mentioned earlier, you can clean your iPhone or Android without causing it any harm by using a microfibre cloth dipped with warm water and alcohol or soap. Alternatively, you can get a 'PhoneSoap' that uses UV light to kill 99.9 percent of the germs on your phone, if you have $80 to spare.
Meanwhile, experts also advice against using phones in toilets or in the subway to protect them from attracting germs.
Prevention is better than cure
Whether or not, cash could spread coronavirus is still a little debatable but according to the CDC, coronavirus could spread between people who are up to six feet apart and what's even more worrying is that the COVID-19 could be tramitted through tiny droplets of saliva or mucus, so it's possible that cash which changes so many hands could carry infected fragments.
Personal hygiene and cleanliness are important to avoid any infection and the proverb "prevention is better than cure" holds true in the ongoing situation.