The COVID-19 coronavirus is still an oppressive concern across the globe six months after it first began hammering its origin city of Wuhan, China. Worldwide cases of the extremely contagious virus have now reached almost 5.5 million with a staggering death toll of 345,000.
The United States remains the epicenter of the pandemic with 1.7 million cases and 100,000 deaths, which many believe is largely due to a poor initial response to the outbreak in the country. Even now, as the virus continues its rapid spread, many states have started reopening their local economy and sending tons of non-essential workers back to into the fray, prompting some health officials to voice concerns that we may see a drastic uptick in cases in the coming weeks and months.
As detrimental as the pandemic has been to citizens in the US and around the world though, it’s also had a substantial impact on businesses and the film industry. As restrictions begin letting up and people get more and more anxious to return to work, Hollywood looks to start resuming business as usual. However, in order to do so, they’re taking some interesting precautions that sound coincidentally like a sci-fi movie.
Xenex Disinfection Services is trying to assist the entertainment industry with their Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots, which have already been deployed and used in places like the Mayo Clinic and various universities across the country. The robots can disinfect dozens of rooms per day by bathing them in UVC light for only five minutes. If it sounds revolutionary, that’s because it kind of is.
Co-founder and chief scientific officer, Dr. Mark Stibich, discussed the process with The Hollywood Reporter, stating:
The way we like to think of it is that our pathogens, like coronavirus, have evolved — but our tools that clean the environment haven’t. We’re still basically using buckets and mops and wipes, and what we need is a new tool in order to reduce the risks that the environment may cause an infection.
Our safety protocol is really developed, and we’ve seen results with reductions in the amount of infections in hospitals. That’s why we want to bring it over to the entertainment industry as the studios open up.
Sony, Amazon, and even Netflix have all looked into scoring some of the $125,000 machines in an attempt to help keep their crews and actors stay safe as they return to their careers and produce new content. Regardless of your stance on reopening the economy, there’s no denying that these robots are pretty cool, but here’s to hoping they don’t ever become sentient – we’ve got enough on our plates right now.