The recent ebola scare has been a wake up call to hospitals, municipal, state and Federal government agencies and millions of average citizens. While the hype was way more contagious than the actual disease – it did point out to us that we need to pay attention to these things. The past few years have seen plenty of flu epidemics and overloading of hospital emergency rooms due to the norovirus and most recently (fall of 2014) Enterovirus D68 caused a small tidal wave of hospital visits (1).
We all know that money changes hands quickly – and that conceivably money could carry a virus, common cold or perhaps something more dangerous – ebola, according to the CDC website (Center for Disease Control) can live for several hours outside the body(2). The flu virus can live for up to 8 hours outside the body(3) (although some websites say it can live for days). The GOV.UK National Health website says that the MRSA virus can live for weeks outside the body(4) and that the herpes virus from cold sores can live for a three hours on cloth. The popular norovirus – something many elementary school children and teachers have experienced – can live for days or weeks(4) on hard surfaces. Yikes!
Now, several companies have begun addressing the concern that the cash in your wallet could indeed carry something unwanted and are marketing a method of treating your money while it is resting in a retail cash drawer, using ultra-violet light.
Vialux(5) has announced a cash drawer product with an embedded Germicidal Ultra Violet Light (UV-C). UV-C light is effective in killing germs and bacteria.
Another company GHD (Global Health Drawers)(6), is also promoting a cash drawer with UV rays, although it is not clear if either company is actually shipping these drawers.
At first, when I thought about it, this seemed a bit extreme. But realistically ..why not?
It seems that each year we are beset with one epidemic or another. Just last year it was a flu virus that reached epic proportions in 49 out of 50 states.
We live in in a world where software companies pray for their apps to go viral. Some of these products actually encourage increased human contact – such as the wildly popular AirBnB, where users either rent out their bedrooms to complete strangers – or others where users pick up strangers and drive them places. Both apps increase the opportunity for strangers to share germs.
So disinfecting cash seems like a great idea. Where would I start? How about hospital cafeterias, student lunchrooms, and cafeterias in old age homes!
Several places where the constituents are either overly susceptible to disease, or very likely to spread it quickly due to close contact.
Recently we’ve written about currency and how it is here to stay. A viral disease that was passed by money would quickly suppress demand for currency. It might even tip a good part of the human race into using credit cards or mobile wallets. Imagine, if your local supermarket stopped accepting cash!