Coronavirus: China to destroy some cash bills, sanitize others in effort to limit spread of virus

ByDenise Dador WABC logo
Thursday, February 20, 2020
China will destroy and sanitize money to limit the spread of the coronavirus
China is widening its efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus with plans to destroy and sanitize money which passes through several hands.

China is widening its efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which now includes destroying and sanitizing money which passes through countless hands.

The People's Bank of China announced it will destroy hundreds of billions worth of its paper currency and use ultra-violet light to disinfect it.

Internal medicine specialist Dr. John K.F. De Beixedon said, "It's not a bad first step if you're trying to sterilize money."

Those who keep a close eye on infectious disease are quite keen about the germs on money. De Bexeidon is aware that money is one of the easiest ways to spread illness.

"I've gone to my favorite bank and there's this lady that I love to see and if she's coughing, I know it's going right on the cash," he said.

A 2002 study on American dollar bills found bacteria on 90 percent of them and a separate Swiss study found that the flu virus can live on money for up to two weeks.

"If you go buy a burger and you're exchanging money back and forth and then you take a bite of the burger. You're taking those viral particles right into your mouth," De Beixedon said

He said that coins can retain far less germs than paper bills, which is usually comprised of fabric. These days, many people prefer to avoid money handling all together. That's why paying with plastic and other ways of conducting business electronically, using your smart phone, are gaining in popularity.

"If it's a time when you're trying to avoid disease, using that app or using that credit card are the perfect ways to keep from getting infected," De Beixedon said.

But many Americans still think cash is king and so if you're touching money, remember to wash your hands.