Updated: Oct 26, 2020
While the adverse effects of the pandemic are already being felt across the world, COVID-19 has compelled the masses to relook at the way they work, how they travel and how they keep their family safe from harmful virus and pathogens. The first case of COVID-19 that appeared in China was on 17th November 2019 and the first case that appeared in India was on 30th January 2020. Facing coronavirus for several months now, we all can come to one conclusion for sure and that is, COVID is all about SSS (staying at home, sanitizing and being safe). The general mindset has changed, people feel unsafe meeting other people, having dinner outside, working in the office, people feel the urge to sanitize their palms, their surroundings and surface constantly. There are many manufacturers which have launched surface sanitizers and these products are either spray based or UVC based for sanitization of home and workplace. The chemical based content in the spray, which is the most commonly used, is harmful and one cannot be in the same room when the process is being done. As offices and businesses resume, surface sanitization is necessary. But, is it enough to completely protect you?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published “The primary and most important mode of transmission for COVID-19 is through close contact from person-to-person.” clearly stating the risk. It has also come up with all the necessary precautions to ensure one’s safety, but one of the most crucial factors that we are missing out is that it can be an airborne disease, scientific evidence published various scientists suggest that COVID-19 is airborne. The most common forms of airborne transmissions are sneezing, coughing and even having a normal conversation with the other person. Now, should we only rely on surface sanitization to protect us completely? The answer should be, no, we must not.
There are so many questions that can arise when talking about complete protection from surface sanitization. What if we miss some areas while spraying where viruses may have been deposited? We cannot even locate the concentration of the virus in the whole room. So, how will we know which area needs to be sanitized more? There are loose ends. It is not a continuous process, it can be done once in a day or twice but it won’t protect us when we are working in the office. Both of these processes i.e. spray based and UVC based needs to be done in isolation, with no people inside. This is creating a huge disruption in business activities and no one can work with the same level of synergy and efficiency as before. People are distracted as they do not know who is infected, and there is nothing to protect them if an infected person is sitting next to them
The risk of airborne transmission is higher in closed spaces than in open spaces due to lesser air circulation owing to not having enough ventilation, and on top of that air conditioning, which recirculates the pathogens. The virus that settles on the surface, ground or on us can be sanitized, in order to prevent surface transmission but what about the transmission when the viruses are suspended in the air? What if a person breathes the air with the viruses in it? It is very difficult to stop these possibilities as we cannot see the virus with naked eyes.
When we sit in a car with air conditioners turned on, there is already low air circulation making the driver and the passengers vulnerable to viruses in the ride. It is a big question of our safety. Majority of the office staff uses the carpool system, people share taxis, friends travel for road trips, all of the things have stopped but it cannot stop forever, it is impossible to have one person in one car only.
For months, we have been around the root cause. Many industrialists, manufacturers and business owners have understood the fact that if they can prevent airborne and droplet transmission, they do not need to worry about surface transmission. Kia, a well known car manufacturer, has recently launched its new SUV Sonet, with virus protection air purification system inside the car. It is a big sense of relief when we feel safe and protected. It is also a beginning of a new technological advancement, where businesses will implement protective methods from viruses for the customers and employees, because, when it comes to protection there should be no loose ends. We all must protect ourselves and others too. Airborne prevention is very much needed now and also in the future to have peace of mind while working or enjoying out with our friends and family. We must take necessary steps in our homes, offices, cars and businesses to avoid coronavirus from spreading.