Businesses finding high-tech solutions to make indoor spaces safer from COVID-19  

    Cupcake fans walking into New York City locations of the iconic Magnolia Bakery will soon encounter something a little less Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City, and a little more Dustin Hoffman in Outbreak. 

    Anyone wishing to enter will be encouraged to pass through a cleansing chamber, analogous to the disinfecting airlocks outside biohazard labs. Patrons’ entire bodies will be bathed in ultraviolet light for 20 seconds. Based on years of research, scientists say they are confident this particular type of UV light is lethal for viruses and bacteria, but safe for humans.

    This unexpected juxtaposition of frosting and physics is just one example of the novel experiences we’re all about to have. Before the coronavirus pandemic, humans spent most waking hours in communal indoor spaces: offices, schools, retailers, restaurants, sports arenas and gyms. To get us to come back, the people running these facilities will attempt to reassure us with a combination of high technology and mundane interventions.

    All these measures have a single aim: to create spaces in which transmission of pathogens is less likely, or at least spaces in which we feel safe from disease, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

    Our current enemy, the novel coronavirus, appears to spread most rapidly indoors, through close personal contact but also potentially through circulation by building ventilation systems, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Personal contact can be managed through social distancing and reducing the number of people in indoor spaces, but a possibly airborne illness requires a rethink of the way we heat and cool our buildings. Read the full story. 

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