The best option is for doctors to not reuse masks, but during the shortages of the last few months, a team of engineers from Lehigh University helped a nearby hospital come up with a stopgap solution to make reusing masks safer.
In a room at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, sits an octagonal machine, 80 inches in diameter and about 5 feet tall, that glows with the bright blue of UV lights. It’s been nicknamed the “bug zapper,” both because it resembles an oversized one, and because, essentially, it zaps away the bug behind COVID-19. Using powerful UV-C lights, the device can decontaminate about 200 N95 masks with just 15 minutes of ultraviolet light exposure. That works out to about 600 masks per hour.
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