Mass Disinfectants against Coronavirus: Means or Menace

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Mass Disinfectants against Coronavirus: Means or Menace

The darker sides of the use of mass disinfectants

Thursday, 2nd April 2020

A common feature of the battle against Covid-19 pandemic is the use of humungous amounts of disinfectant on masses of people around the world. This step adopted by the local authorities and government bodies of several nations has been deemed ineffective, unethical and even ludicrous by health experts across the globe.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus that has infected and killed thousands of people all over the world, has led several countries including Mexico, Malaysia, Turkey, Indonesia and even India to respond in rather unique ways.

Indonesia has made the use of drones to spray billowing quantities of disinfectant on its second largest city- Surabaya. Its capital city Jakarta has got box like chambers installed at different points which sprays out at passersby to “cleanse” them of potential germs.

Migrant workers in India were seen to get sprayed on and doused in bleach disinfectant from hose pipes, while trying to return home from the cities during a nationwide lockdown owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

In Malaysia too, the authorities have taken on a similar measure during a nationwide lockdown. They make use of trucks and spray guns to release large plumes of disinfectants on roads.

This disinfection drive, as per the officers in charge, is to stall people from being carriers of the virus across borders and communities.

Experts Voice

These actions on the part of the government however, have appalled many who are experts in the field. They criticize the action as ignorant, overzealous and completely unrequired. They also term it as wasteful, both of resources and time.

In fact, the World Health Organization has stated that if the virus is already present within your body, putting disinfectant without will not help in any way and hence useless.

The workers in charge of the operations are garbed in outlandish protective gear that makes them resemble characters from sci-fi movies. The entire image has been relegated to being “ridiculous”, said an infectious disease expert in Singapore who also works in close coordination with the World Health Organization’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.

Other disease experts have expressed concerns about the harmful effects of the disinfectants that are used for the purpose. As per some, it could be toxic on people and lead to skin break outs and irritations. A professor at the University of Indonesia said that apart from the skin, it is also harmful for the eyes and mouth.

Another infectious disease expert at a hospital in Singapore commented that although these steps seem rather flowery and ornate on the outside, they do little in terms of controlling the virus. He also jocularly remarked that the authorities could much rather make use of water cannons to disperse people and send them home instead.

What does the common man think?

A resident in Jakarta, when asked about the disinfectant spray commented that he felt sanitized and “well-protected” after the process.

Covid-19 is a highly contagious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus that causes respiratory illness. It spreads primarily through droplets and discharges released from the mouth and nose of an infected person when they cough or sneeze.

According to experts, the best way to protect oneself from the virus when compared to the benzalkonium chloride disinfectant is the use of soap and water that helps weaken the virus and prevents it from entering the human body.

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