Hand Sanitizer and Chernobyl

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Still from HBO’s Chernobyl

I love the scene in HBO’s Chernobyl where Valery Lagasov play by Jared Harris goes over the reasons why the meltdown occurred. Power was low, controls were removed to overcompensate, the situation got worse.

Where can this occur in every day life?

One example sprung to mind today. It’s the empty hand sanitizer pump.

What happens when a communal hand sanitizer bottle only has a little bit of gel left in it? You end up making contact with it more than you would one that has more sanitizer in it by pumping more. Also, you touch a surface that was also touched by others before they sanitized their hands. More people end up touching this surface making it a more likely vector for transmission.

Of course, this is conjecture. I’d love to see some study on this, but the principle remains that certain things meant to protect us might actually end up endangering us in particular scenarios. It’s important to understand these scenarios and design for them.

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