The Carolina Panthers have announced that they’re using UV light devices — fuck it — VIRUS KILLING MACHINES to disinfect their stadium and facilities. Two virus-annihilating weapons of mass destruction, aka, LightStrike™ Germ-Zapping Robots by XENEX, will plow through the Bank of America Stadium detonating everything* in their way (*certain pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, which causes covid-19). You can see it in full force at the Paramount Miami Worldcenter luxury condo tower in Miami, one of many high-traffic buildings and transit systems now using UV disinfectant devices.
These bad boys will be used “people can feel safe coming in here again,” Eddie Levins, director of security and infectious control officer for the Carolina Panthers and Bank of America Stadium, is quoted on the Panthers’s blog. They’ll be used “in any public space that we need a quick down-and-dirty sanitization.”
If you want even more reassurance, just take it from XENEX CEO Morris Miller, who said in a statement shared with CNBC that, “people are looking for a disease conscious lifestyle,” and “they want to make sure when they go into a public space, that they’re not going to get sick because of pathogens that have been left on the environment.”
But what about pathogens travelling through the air amongst thousands of people cheering at the top of their lungs? A XENEX spokesperson told Gizmodo that no one should be in the room while the robots are in operation, at risk of damaging their eyes. “The purpose of the LightStrike robot is to quickly deactivate pathogens and provide a disinfected environment for the next player/person to enter that room,” the spokesperson said. So the stadium will be guaranteed virus-free precisely and only at the moment at which you arrive.
But — and I can not stress this enough — robots.
Typically, the robots are used to disinfect hospital rooms. (Don’t focus on that too much.) UVC light — UV light with short wavelengths — has proven effective in killing coronaviruses on surfaces and in the air. XENEX tells Gizmodo that one robot can disinfect an area within seven feet in every direction, per two minutes, so technically, if it were running interrupted like a roomba without a human operator, it might disinfect over 372 sq km per hour.
With the Bank of America stadium measuring 33 acres, you might wonder why they don’t have more robots, perhaps a “down-and-dirty” robot army. Probably because robots are expensive, and CNBC reports that these sell for $US125,000 ($173,975) each.
The Panthers say that they’ve used the robots to sanitize players’ facilities, offices, and equipment throughout camp, though as of early September, three Carolina Panthers players had been placed on the NFL’s reserve/covid-19 “list,” meaning that they’ve either tested positive for covid-19 or have been exposed to someone who did. The NFL is currently suffering from its first coronavirus outbreak, with three Tennessee Titans players and five staffers sickened. The Titans as well as the Minnesota Vikings, who played against the Titans on Sunday, have suspended all in-person activities.
The current troop strength of the Pathers’ UVC-wielding future army is exactly two robots… “with a possibility to acquire more.”
Gizmodo has reached out to the Panthers and will update the post if we hear back.