Coronavirus: Can the sun sanitize all by itself?

With coronavirus continuing to spread, many are hopeful that warmer weather will slow the pandemic down much like it does the flu each year. But can the sun alone keep us safe from germs regardless of temperature?

News 12 Staff

Mar 14, 2020, 12:47 PM

Updated 1,532 days ago

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Coronavirus: Can the sun sanitize all by itself?
With coronavirus continuing to spread, medical professionals are hopeful that warmer weather will slow the pandemic down much like it does the common cold and influenza each year.
But can the sun alone keep us safe from germs regardless of temperature?
While its presence may make us feel better emotionally, there is limited scientific evidence that it has even a marginal effect on the microbial world, at best. However, many researchers are saying that another light source could help during these trying times.
We know that the sun produces harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, which get stronger during the warmer months. This is why we apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses, to protect our skin and eyes. The main rays that are produced are UVA and, to a lesser extent UVB. There is a third and even more damaging ultraviolet ray called UVC, but it cannot penetrate the ozone layer and thus remains well up in the atmosphere. 
This wavelength of ultraviolet light is so strong, it can even damage things like bacteria and viruses by compromising their DNA. With that in mind, scientists developed special germicidal lamps to help control the spread of airborne diseases. They emit what are called 'Far-UVC' rays because the light has a limited range and cannot penetrate through the outer layer of our skin, which means they are safe for humans to be around.
These lamps would be highly effective in densely populated public areas, such as schools, airports, and hospitals. And while currently on the pricey side, many suggest that mass production would likely drive down the price to more affordable levels.
Photos: Impact of coronavirus around the world
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