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COVID-19 turned many people into germaphobes, says survey

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(NEW YORK) — Though it might make good medical sense considering the pandemic, a new survey shows 42% of Americans now consider themselves germaphobes — and nearly 80% say that’s not a bad thing.

The non-scientific poll of 2,000 people commissioned by American Water found that the average respondent washes their hands nine times a day, though nearly one in five wash upward of 15 times a day.

And we see the utility of it, not all of us are happy about it. While 90% of the poll takers say they know the CDC recommends washing their mitts for 20 seconds, 41% say it’s getting “tiresome.”

The most common germaphobic habits the respondents say they’ve picked up since the pandemic started are making sure they’re always carrying hand sanitizer, immediately washing their hands for a full 20 seconds after being outside, and not touching surfaces in public.

That said, while 65% say their hygiene habits have improved since the pandemic began, 42% say they’ve gotten more lax about it. For example, while they used to change and wash their clothes after coming in from outside, and also sanitize their groceries and mail, they’re not doing that anymore. 

One in five have even let the hand-washing regimen slide, even though they know they shouldn’t, admitting they wash their hands fewer than five times a day.

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