Workers wearing Hazmat suits spraying disinfectant clouds on city streets, building boundaries, park benches and even parcels have become commonplace in China during the violence.
In Shanghai, the epicenter of the country’s biggest violence, state media reported that thousands of workers had been organized into groups to kill germs in areas, focusing on those known to be Covid patients – a move the government did not see as important in curbing the spread of Omicron diversity.
But the practice is often very stretching. It seems that any outdoor area is in danger of being routed by workers using leaf-cutting disinfectants, as China’s strict “zero-Covid” policy continues to be obsessed with cleaning up everything.
In Shanghai, firefighters have been fired from their jobs to play a role in disinfection, the local youth wing has recruited volunteers from paramedics, and paramedics from remote parts of China have been put on a pilot list – often strapped to a ropes. on heavy machinery and full hazmat.
In some areas of Shanghai, specialized chemical production stations have been set up, and in some vehicles they are equipped with chemical tanks and equipment such as pesticides for firing on the streets, according to local media. Antimicrobial robots have been set up at train stations, and have been set up to guard other solitary confinement centers.
But these efforts – and others, such as insisting on workers wearing hazmat suits and cries, recorded messages playing in a loop reminding people how to protect themselves from the disease – could be a waste of time, effort and resources.
Experts say that transmission of the virus to polluted areas is very low – and that cleaning outdoor areas such as parks and city streets is useless and, worse, could be detrimental to public health.
“Robots and street spraying are actions designed to strengthen public confidence in government actions,” said Nicholas Thomas, an associate professor at City University of Hong Kong, who noted how Chinese authorities have long cited environmental pollution as part of their rhetoric. that it is possible that the virus did not originate in China.
“It is a problem when politics dominates and divides the science of the epidemic – more efforts must be made to strengthen politics through actions that do not increase the security of the affected people to the same degree.
Mass disinfection is part of China’s long-standing campaign against the risk of Covid-19 infection in much of the world which it considers too small to authorize past hand washing and sterilization measures, such as those in busy public places as well. where food is treated or Covid-19 patients are treated.
In a scientific document last year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said scientific research suggested that contact with the Covid-19 contaminated site had a lower chance of causing one in 10,000 infections. Such research has prompted many to consider the public outcry as a “hygiene theater” as opposed to any reasonable preventive measure.
Mass disinfection was not part of Western disease control measures “because public health officials follow science,” according to Emanuel Goldman, professor of biology at Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School.
“(It is not possible) that any conditions are caused by contact with contaminated areas. The virus dies quickly without the person being infected … and it is transmitted improperly with the fingers,” he said. “Washing hands with soap and water, is all you need to reduce the risk to zero.”
In China, where strict practices are focused on eradicating any spread of the virus, concerns about pollution stem from the first months of the epidemic, especially after Chinese officials said a market boom in Beijing may have begun because the worker was infected. in handling imported frozen, contaminated salmon.
Although the World Health Organization says that “people are less likely to be able to get Covid-19 through food or food packaging, Chinese authorities have repeatedly targeted imports from other countries or other polluted areas, such as airports or international mail, who carry diseases.
This has led to a number of very different measures in China such as surveying foreign trade to detect the virus and disinfect large quantities of frozen goods from overseas, with some cities issuing various antimicrobial orders for mail and parcels worldwide – albe nationally. A health expert said earlier this year there was not enough evidence that such cold sores could carry the virus.
And as Beijing sought to redefine the history of the origin of coronavirus, first discovered in China, officials have speculated that the virus may have been introduced into frozen goods in the first place – an idea widely disputed by international experts.
While there is some evidence that the virus can remain contagious in frozen packages, countries that may want to deal with this risk are different, according to Leo Poon, a professor at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.
“In countries that use a termination strategy, this is very dangerous. However, in many countries now, this may not be important at all,” he said.
But when it comes to touching a typical environment, this “is not a great Covid-19 transmission mode,” he said, adding antivirus in the interior would be a good idea.
In areas such as Shanghai, where resources have already been expanded as the city struggles to cope with the weekly closure, deploying volunteers and staff for the purpose of disinfection may place undue focus.