TAMPA, Fla. - On Sunday, before the Tampa Bay Buccaneer take on the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina, they will walk into a locker room disinfected by the Lightstrike germ-zapping robot.
Developed by San Antonio, Texas-based company Xenex, the robot sends pulses of powerful UV rays (ultraviolet light) through a room. Data from studies show it kills 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19 within two minutes.
"It kills everything. Anything that's got DNA. So when you go out and get a sunburn, and you come back and that sunburn really hurts, why does it hurt? Well, it hurts because the sun contains a lot of UV rays and it's killed a lot of the skin cells in your body and that's why things are hurting; because the skin cells are dying and the virus is really no different," said Dr. Thomas Unnasch, a professor of public health at the University of South Florida and a researcher for the USF Center of Infectious Disease.
Humans and animals cannot be in the room while the robot is doing its work.
A spokesperson for the Carolina Panthers says the team deployed two robots at the start of the season in September to make sure the players, staff, and the visiting team have the cleanest and safest facilities possible.
It is also used in places like the player’s weight room, restrooms, cafeterias, and office spaces.
This is the first time the robots are being used in the NFL, but they are being used at more than 700 healthcare facilities worldwide, according to Morris Miller, the CEO of Xenex.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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