The outbreak of the novel corona virus is crashing global markets and affecting everything from air travel to the film industry to local businesses. Still, some companies stand to benefit somehow from this outbreak, which has now spread to scores of countries and infected more than 100,000 people.
But the sellers of some lesser-known products also seem to view the corona virus as a unique business opportunity. These companies are pushing the idea that gadgets like air purifiers, robots, and even spit-shielding hats could be helpful in combating the virus. While some of these vendors are actively promoting the link between their products and Covid-19, the disease caused by the corona virus, other companies say consumers are making the connection themselves and seeking out their products.
Like face masks, some unusual products might be useful for health care workers on the front lines of this outbreak but probably aren’t meant for the average healthy person.
Some robots are lending a helping hand in the battle against the corona virus, facilitating conversation between infected patients and hospital staff and delivering necessities, including medication.
Recently, Philadelphia-based Promobot deployed one of its robots in Times Square, as Reuters reported. The robot, which has also been seen in New York City’s Bryant Park, essentially quizzes people to see if they have the symptoms of the coronavirus. At one point, the robot was also, apparently, handing out face masks, even though health authorities have urged healthy people not to use them.
Rise in air purifiers and their claims
The air purifier manufacturer Airpura, for instance, has been advertising that at least one of its devices can “remove the coronavirus from your airstream.” (The company did not respond to a request for comment.) At least one online platform, the air treatment e-commerce site Sylvane, has also promoted the idea that such purifiers might be useful.
Emerging high-tech disinfectants
The novel coronavirus has had some consumers looking for tools to disinfect their surrounding areas, including high-tech electrostatic spray guns. While you might normally have disinfectant sprayed from a bottle, these types of guns make use of charged particles to ensure that a substance fully covers a surface.
Some companies are now marketing these guns in response to the coronavirus. A couple of them — one called Emist and another called EFS Clean — are being used in health care facilities in Singapore and by school officials in Utah. One person on LinkedIn showed how he used one to disinfect his seat on an airplane.
Anti-spitting hats a business breakthrough
Aside from the growing number of gadgets being marketed during the coronavirus outbreak, there are also some strange low-tech products drawing attention. On Amazon, for example, you’ll find a slew of new listings for hats that come fitted with protective “screens” that are meant to block someone spitting or sneezing into your face. There are baseball hats with screens, sun hats with screens, and even visors with screens. The premise seems to be that the coronavirus, which can spread through droplets, will be blocked by the device.
The CDC and the WHO recommend several basic measures to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases such as Covid-19:
Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
Stay home when you are sick.
DON’T touch your face.
DON’T travel if you have a fever and cough.
DON’T wear a face mask if you are well. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms.
One of the founders of the air purifier company Molekule made some lofty claims about his technology to a local news outlet. “I am very confident that this technology will destroy corona virus,” Dr. Yogi Goswami told a Tampa Bay CBS affiliate. “Although we have not tested it on that virus itself, we have tested it on viruses of that type,”