The public broadcasting organization NHK in conjunction with health experts, conducted a black light experiment showing how quickly germs and viruses like the coronavirus can spread at a restaurant.
The video of the experiment has become viral in Japan, which simulates the atmosphere at a buffet restaurant or on a cruise ship. It aims to inform the public how easily can one infected person spread the virus and possibly infect other people.
There are 10 participants coming into the restaurant, with one person singled out as the carrier. Each participant goes about to the buffet as what they would normally do, without any consideration of potential contamination.
At the end of the video, they were cast under black lights illuminating where the "infection" has spread. The glow-in-the-dark substance represents the germs, can be seen on the food, serving utensils and platters, on the faces of some of them.
What do Experts have to Say?
This type of experiment is nothing new for experts. John Nicholls, a clinical professor in pathology at Hong Kong University, said that these types of experiments demonstrate how quickly pathogens can spread, most especially if people do not perform handwashing activity.
Nicholls told CNN that "what the video demonstrated, is that it will spread to surfaces and people very efficiently." It highlights the need for what experts and authorities have been saying about hand hygiene to stop the disease from spreading, Nicholls added.
However, according to Nicholls, the simulation is artificial because it mainly focused on touching alone. This concern is agreed by an infectious disease specialist at Kobe University, Kentaro Iwata.
In a statement to CNN, Iwata said that the experiment simply described the possibility of the transmission of the virus via contact, and it is not proof of what happened. So, a distinction between what had happened and what could happen should be clearly made.
Both Nicholls and Iwata agreed that the video is an excellent way to show the importance of handwashing, and for the sake of science, Nicholls suggested that the experiment would be more effective if it shows what would happen after the infected person washes his hands for five and then ten seconds.
In this way, the general public would get some idea of how much hand washing could actually reduce the risk of transmission and contracting the disease, according to Nicholls.
The Power of Handwashing
Keeping the hands clean is one of the most important steps in avoiding getting infected from the virus. Many diseases and viral conditions are spread by not washing the hands with soap and clean running water.
Germs and viruses can get into a person through their nose, mouth, and eyes - areas that are frequently touched by the hands. Additionally, objects and surfaces are also prone to germs and can serve as a breeding ground.
Some experts have conducted studies regarding how long coronavirus is likely to stay on surfaces. They found that in some objects and surfaces, the virus can remain from a few minutes up to several days. That is why it is important always to keep the hands clean and the surroundings as well to avoid any infections.