The novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has increasingly dominated the news worldwide since it was first identified in December 2019. By the end of January 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization had designated the rapidly expanding Coronavirus outbreak a “public emergency of international concern,” and the U.S. had declared a public health emergency.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization reported global figures of more than 120,000 confirmed cases resulting in more than 4,300 deaths and assessed the global risk of being affected by the virus as “very high.” As the virus spreads, its impacts on public health and the global economy continue to evolve.

What is Coronavirus?

The “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) is caused by a virus called “SARS-CoV-2,” which is part of a large family of viruses that affect humans and animals. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in humans include fever, tiredness, and dry cough.

Some patients may also experience:

  • Aches and pains
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms begin gradually and tend to be mild. Some people can even be infected without exhibiting any symptoms, and most are able to recover from the disease without receiving any special treatment. However, about 1 out of 6 people infected with COVID-19 becomes seriously ill with potentially fatal progression. Serious illness may be more likely to affect people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes.

How Does Coronavirus Spread?

The disease is thought to spread from person to person via contact with respiratory droplets expelled during coughing or sneezing that can be inhaled or picked up from touching contaminated surfaces. After you touch a contaminated surface, touching your face may allow the virus to enter your body through your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Perhaps the biggest challenges presented by COVID-19 are that it’s highly contagious, it’s easy to transmit to other people, and, as of March 2020, there’s no vaccine or cure for it. In efforts to contain coronavirus spread, aggressive quarantines, both on land and on water, and large-scale closures and cancellations have been enacted around the globe.

As this public health crisis develops, there are things that you can do to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

How to Prevent Coronavirus

Since COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through physical contact, there are simple coronavirus prevention tips that may help reduce your chances of contracting the virus:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly
  • Clean your hands frequently with alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay at least three feet away from people who are coughing or sneezing
  • Replace handshakes, hugs, etc. with waves, nods, and bows
  • Wear an approved facemask if you need to care for a sick person
  • Clean high-touch surfaces with alcohol, bleach, or chlorine-based products
  • Use UV-C light to disinfect sensitive, high-touch electronics, such as cell phones and tablets

Coronavirus Prevention with UV Light Disinfection

In addition to behavioral modification coupled with rigorous manual cleaning and disinfection practices, ultraviolet light disinfection can be a valuable tool in the fight to stop the spread of infection. In healthcare facilities, non-critical portable and reusable medical equipment (wheelchairs, gurneys, IV-Poles, computer workstations, etc.) and even entire rooms can be effectively sanitized using UV-C light disinfection. Spurred by recent outbreaks, the transportation industry has begun using UV light to disinfect buses, and planes may incorporate UV cleaning tech soon.

The COVID-19 disease emerged so recently that the results of scientific studies regarding ultraviolet light’s effects on the SARS-CoV-2 virus are presently unavailable. However, research on UV-C light’s effects on the coronaviruses MHV and MERS-CoV, which are thought to be similar to COVID-19, have demonstrated that UV-C light disinfection is more than 99% effective in inactivating previously studied coronavirus.

This pandemic is already causing strain to the overall healthcare system as many facilities are inundated with COVID-19 preparedness efforts. There’s a broader discussion to be had on the deficiencies of various disinfection practices within healthcare facilities that rely heavily on manual processes. More specifically, portable medical equipment (PME), such as wheelchairs, have been known to be a vector of transmission for disease-causing pathogens, and increasing attention is being placed on the integration of automated purpose-built solutions, such as the platform developed by UV-Concepts, Inc. It’s time to challenge the status quo and seek new solutions.

While UV-C rays are exceptionally effective for disinfection and can be used safely on inanimate objects, they should only be used as directed since unprotected exposure can be harmful to humans and animals.

Stay Informed, Stay Healthy

The World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 disease a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. As the world contends with the far-reaching consequences of this health crisis, it’s essential to remain informed about coronavirus prevention. Helpful information can be found online at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and at the World Health Organization.