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Eye-opening black light experiment shows how easily COVID-19 can spread in a restaurant

With a growing number of people favoring the idea of opening up America, it's a good time to remind everyone why we're social distancing in the first place: there's a deadly virus running rampant through the country and it spreads very easily. A new poll released Monday found that 71% of Americans favor requiring people to stay in their homes except for essential errands. That's down from 80% two weeks earlier.

But how easily does the virus spread? Well, the Japanese public broadcasting organization NHK and a group of health experts created an experiment that shows how effectively COVID-19 could hypothetically spread through a restaurant.


The video shows ten people entering the restaurant and one of them is the "infected" customer. That customer is given a dab of fluorescent paint on his hand that represents the virus. That makes perfect sense because an infected person is likely to touch their nose and face or sneeze into the hands multiple times a day.

The participants then grabbed some food by the buffet and sat down for 30 minutes to eat.

After a half hour, the participants are shown just how far the virus traveled by turning on a black light.

This experiment shows how quickly viruses spread at the dinner tablewww.youtube.com

The participants were shocked to see the virus was found on people's hands, on place settings and even in a person's mouth. It was also found on communal items such as tongs and a drink container.

"What the video demonstrated, is that it will spread to surfaces and to people very efficiently," John Nicholls, a clinical professor in pathology at Hong Kong University, told CNN. He continued, "I think it really highlights the need of what people have been saying about hand hygiene to stop the spread of disease."

Nicholls believes that the experiment could have even been more informative if it showed how the virus would have spread if the "infected" participant washed their hands.

"So the general public gets some concept of the mechanism of how much the use of hand-washing can actually reduce the transmission of potentially infectious material," Nicholls said.


Wash Hands Water GIF by Jared D. Weiss Giphy



The video is powerful because it shows how one person's behavior can affect the health of everyone around them. Now, imagine if those communal items weren't quickly disinfected. The disease could infect the next hundred people that came into the buffet.

The video also provides an excellent example of how we should take incredible caution when we are out in public and act as though we are already infected. COVID-19 can lay dormant in our systems for up to two weeks without showing any symptoms. The "infected" person in the experiment could have gone out to eat or went out in public multiple times before he knew anything was wrong.

So, if you have a friend or family member who's feeling pretty cavalier about going out in public during the pandemic, show them this video and then see how they feel.

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