The state-run media outlet bills itself as “The largest newspaper in China,” atop a video that looks like something out of Blade Runner, with massive trucks spraying chemicals high into the air at night in Wuhan:
— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) February 10, 2020
Of course, as Business Insider notes, it’s largely a PR exercise: China is sending trucks to spray bleach on entire cities as the country struggles to contain the Wuhan coronavirus.
Joe Drake, president and founder of the US-based Decon Seven, said he’s seen such disinfecting sprayer trucks dispatched in cities including Shanghai, Beijing, and Wuhan even before the current coronavirus outbreak.
But health experts say these public displays of germ-busting are probably not doing much to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, and that the disinfection should instead target specific spots, like emergency rooms, and communal surfaces in hospitals, where more coronavirus germs are likely to get swapped around.
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“The truth is that coronaviruses have really poor survivability on surfaces,” Saskia Popescu, a senior infection prevention epidemiologist who works at a Phoenix-based healthcare system, told Insider. “This is an organism that is generally spread through respiratory droplets. So that cough, that sneeze, and yes, your hands can get contaminated and then you touch your eyes, your mouth, and things like that.”
She said the widespread use of disinfectants like bleach — which is what was being used in truck sprayers in at least one Chinese city, Yichang, according to a local report — is “a little over the top.”
“I would rather see better efforts to make sure people are disinfecting emergency rooms and high-touch surfaces in hospitals and schools more than I would want to see bleach being sprayed on streets,” she said. “Honestly, think about how often do your hands or your mouth come into contact with a street?”
The bleach is not just for the streets. Patients and doctors are also being disinfected after they’re released from hospitals or finish a shift.
UPDATE: The coronavirus has killed hundreds, but is China giving us the full picture?, Glenn asks at USA Today.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Coronavirus Updates: A Grim Landmark as Official Death Toll in China Tops 1,000.
Cruise Ship Coronavirus Infections Double, Exceeding The Total For Any Country But China. “The number of people with coronavirus on a cruise ship in the port of Yokohama nearly doubled to 135 Monday, prompting imperiled crew members to plead for help and setting off debate among experts over whether the more than 3,700 people quarantined aboard should be taken ashore or left on the ship. ‘Very soon we will all be infected,’ said Binay Kumar Sarkar, an Indian national and one of about 1,000 crew members aboard the ship. Sarkar posted a video on Facebook imploring Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for assistance. Everyone, he said in an interview, is ‘scared who will be next.’ Unlike passengers, crew members are not housed in individual staterooms, but are living as many as four to a room. They also are traversing the ship delivering meals, which increases their contact with other people and raises the chances of becoming infected.”
Workers at coronavirus quarantine base accosted amid unfounded fears of spreading virus. “Workers at California’s March Air Reserve Base and their families have been verbally attacked in person and on social media by people fearing their proximity to the 195 Americans under quarantine at the base after fleeing China amid the coronavirus outbreak, Riverside County officials said Monday.”