Several provinces and municipalities have progressed in the de-escalaada process, moving to phase 1. One aspect in which, throughout the health crisis, the focus has been on the shortening of the cycle of virus contagion, has been at the time of its survival on different surfaces. Something we will have to continue to pay attention to in the successive phases of de-escalation to avoid possible upturns and aggravation of the improvement situation that we are gradually achieving.
To this end, the Ministry of Health presented through a scientific-technical report the survivability that the Covid-19 has in different materials, something to which factors such as humidity, temperature and, of course, the material itself will affect. Based on his own research on the persistence of other coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces outside an organism, from The Journal Of Hospital Infection estimates that the Covid-19 would survive 2 to 8 hours on aluminum, compared to the 2 days it would on steel, the 4 days it would do in wood and glass, or 5 days in metal and ceramics. Finally, plastic would be the surface between those analyzed (all of them daily surfaces and present in our environment) where the longest would survive: more than 5 days.
Outside of a human organism, it is estimated that the Covid-19 would survive between 2 and 8 hours on aluminum, compared to the several days it would on other materials such as plastic.
With this data in hand, from the AEA – the Spanish Aluminum Association, which represents more than 600 companies in the sector – we want to claim the importance of aluminum as a material in areas such as sanitary, where measures for the containment of the virus must be as demanding and effective as possible.
A MATERIAL AT THE SERVICE OF HEALTH ACTIVITY
Centers that have been decisive during the current pandemic situation, such as the three field hospitals set up in Valencia (next to La Fe de Valencia and the two Generals of Alicante and Castellón), had aluminum as a fundamental structural material. A decision that was not at all casual; if these field hospitals were to receive hundreds of infected patients, it was necessary that the predominant and present materials were those in which the virus had a shorter survival period.
The Ministry of Health, Ana Barceló, speaking of the safety of these three enclosures, pointed out precisely that they had been mounted with materials such as aluminum – instead of steel or iron – because the coronavirus would not survive more than two hours on these surfaces.
And not only that; In addition, they needed to be built quickly, while it was necessary to ensure the stability of the structure. Under all these premises, aluminum was shown to be the ideal material for these purposes. Jon de Olabarria, Secretary-General of the AEA says “One of the sectors in which aluminum stands out is undoubtedly that of temporary structures. All this thanks to its ease of assembly and its lightness for transport and placement. Despite its low weight, it is a solid, hard and resistant material, which gives stability and safety to the structures. If we add to this that this is one of the surfaces on which the Covid-19 least resists, we are faced with a material that must prevail in areas such as sanitary.”
The Spanish Aluminum Association claims aluminium as one of the preferred materials for sectors such as health while the pandemic situation lasts.
In short, says Jon of Olabarria, “Among the materials that are most present in our daily lives and in the objects that surround us and that pass constantly through our hands, aluminum has been shown to be one of the least favors the permanence of the virus in it, which should place it as a prevalent material in the future or, at least, until a vaccine against Covid-19 is found. It is clear that we must maintain a strictness and consistency in the work of cleaning and disinfection more intense than ever. But on top of that, it will always help that those elements around us are surfaces or objects that we know safe after a couple of hours.”
On top of that, the AEA emphasizes that aluminum is a total and infinitely recyclable material without its qualities being diminished in successive recycling processes. Also, for the recycling process it requires only 5 of the energy that was needed to produce primary aluminium. However, any element that is created and used in the context of this pandemic and then discarded can be recycled and have successive and infinite lives.