How fast can a virus like COVID-19 spread in a restaurant? Check out this experiment
This black light experiment aims to show how easily germs and viruses – like COVID-19 -- can spread in restaurants when just one person is infected.
As the world continues to grapple with the deadly coronavirus pandemic and scientists are racing against time to find a vaccine to beat the highly-infectious virus, a video from Japan has gone viral as it shows how easily germs and viruses – like COVID-19 -- can spread in restaurants when just one person is infected.
The experiment was conducted by Japanese public broadcaster NHK in conjunction with health experts. It simulates the atmosphere at a buffet restaurant or on a cruise ship.
The video shows 10 people coming into the restaurant, with one being the "infected" person. Each participant goes about the buffet as they normally would, not considering a potential contamination.
At the end of the video, the participants are cast under black lights illuminating where the "infection" has spread. See the video here:
The substance, used to signify the germs, can be seen on food, serving utensils and platters, and even on the faces of some of the participants.
According to experts, these kind of experiments demonstrate how quickly a virus can spread, especially when hand washing is not performed.
"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 Nicholls told CNN.
A restaurant in Japan did an experiment showing how fast a ‘virus’ spreads that setting... pic.twitter.com/kLIX2986OG— Rex Chapman???????? (@RexChapman) May 11, 2020
"And I think it really highlights the need of what people have been saying about hand hygiene to stop the spread of disease." However, Nicholls said that the situation is "artificial" because so much emphasis is placed on the touching alone.
Kentaro Iwata, an infectious disease specialist at Kobe University, said: "The experiment just described the possibility of the spread by contact, and that is not proof of what happened, so the distinction has to be clearly made between what could happen and what did happen."
But both experts called the experiment “a good way to show the importance of hand washing”.