Since Sea-Tac is a major airport serving China, our health officials worry the virus could spread by passengers and crews arriving here.
Drug companies are racing around the clock to develop a vaccine.
Medical experts fear a repeat of the last influenza pandemic that swept our planet in 1918. The Spanish flu killed an estimated 50 million people — 3 percent of the world’s population. That year one-fifth of the world’s population was attacked by the deadly virus.
Today’s antibiotics, medicines and sanitary techniques were nonexistent a century ago. However, copper was, and it was first used in medicine over 3,000 years ago. In ancient Egypt, copper vessels stored drinking water because the metal’s properties prevented the spread of diseases.
We also know that many diseases are transmitted by hands touching doorknobs and handrails in public places, schools and buses.
Researchers at Queens College at City University of New York learned that exposure to dry copper alloy surfaces, such as brass, kills a wide spectrum of bacteria and fungi and permanently inactivates several viruses. Greater than 99.9 percent of the killing occurred within two hours.
In November, the American Society of Microbiology released a new study which discovered that copper hospital beds in intensive care units had 95 percent fewer bacteria than conventional beds.
That’s important because “hospital-acquired infections sicken approximately 2 million Americans annually and kill nearly 100,000,” said Dr. Michael G. Schmidt of the University of South Carolina, Charleston. It is the eighth-leading cause of U.S. deaths.
Copper alloy surfaces in buildings, homes and schools — albeit more expensivev to install — are disease fighters, which can significantly lower infection and death rates.
Exercise facilities and gyms are major breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 58 million Americans are in a gym two or more times a week. They work out in one of the 30,500 gyms and health clubs across the U.S.
Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, research concluded the “use of copper alloys on high-touch athletic center surfaces (barbells, dumbells, kettlebells and exercise machines) lowered bacteria counts by an average of 94 percent.” Many gyms, weight-rooms and exercise centers purchase stainless steel or iron equipment, which are sold at a lower price.
Importantly, CUNY researchers found that copper remains effective in fighting diseases which develop drug-resistant mutations.
Hopefully, the coronavirus will prompt additional research into copper as a disease fighter. We will continue to find copper’s positives outweigh its negatives.