Ever since the start of the pandemic we have been told of the importance of social distancing, wearing face masks and focusing on hygiene in the form of regular and frequent hand washing, etc. While all these are essential in keeping people safe from infection and limiting the spread of the disease, the World Health Organization has now determined that there is another factor in the spread of COVID 19 that must be dealt with. New research shows that the spread of Coronavirus is not limited to person to person contact – the virus also exists in an aerosolized form which means that it can remain suspended in the air for an extended period. This means that a person entering a room that has no other occupants but where the virus remains suspended in the air is likely to contract the disease. Another factor to be considered when trying to limit exposure to the disease is that the Coronavirus may remain active on surfaces to where the virus has been transferred through physical contact.
What It Means
The spread of COVID 19 is not limited to person to person contact. The virus can spread through the air or from contact with infected surfaces. There is as yet no clear or reliable timeframe as to how long the virus remains active in the air or on surfaces, but what is evident is that more than just social distancing is required to try and control the spread. The best protection lies in disinfection of areas where people congregate. This disinfection is more than wiping down surfaces and contact areas, it will require the removal of the aerosolized virus from the air. While the primary focus of this extended safety protocol will be at hospitals and health care facilities where the risk of infection spreading through the air is the highest, the risk of the airborne infection in public places and even in the home cannot be ignored.
Scientists are confident that in the foreseeable future ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) will be the most effective method of killing the airborne virus. However, that technology is not yet ready for widespread adoption. What is immediately available is the use of Ultraviolet C (UV-C) light to destroy the airborne virus. The technology is easily available, is proven and stable and very cost-effective.
While social distancing and other actions in the early stages of the pandemic helped to slow down the spread, an indefinite open-ended lockdown is simply not feasible – the economic costs are too high. In a world where people are trying to get back to something that resembles normalcy, social interaction will grow exponentially. The right way to keep COVID 19 under control is to add UV-C to the pandemic control protocol in all areas where people congregate – offices, factories, schools, malls, restaurants, cinemas and so on.
Stopping the airborne spread of the Coronavirus is not a magic bullet that will stop the spread of COVID 19, but it will effectively restrict one channel by which the disease spreads and thereby reduce the risks associated with the return to a life where people will once again meet each other and gather in the same places.
Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Karaikudi, Hosur and Salem, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.
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