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MTA testing UV lamps to disinfect COVID-19

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday announced an ultraviolet light pilot program proven to kill COVID-19, with the first phase set to launch on subways, buses, and other New York City Transit facilities throughout the system early next week. Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit Handout /UPI
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday announced an ultraviolet light pilot program proven to kill COVID-19, with the first phase set to launch on subways, buses, and other New York City Transit facilities throughout the system early next week. Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit Handout /UPI | License Photo

May 19 (UPI) -- New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Tuesday it will use ultraviolet technology to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The MTA wrote on Twitter that it is piloting the use of UV lamps to disinfect trains, buses, stations and crew facilities.

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"The lamps use UVC, which is safe for humans but kills the virus responsible for COVID-19," the MTA wrote. "In the coming weeks, we'll be evaluating the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of UVC technology while maintaining our strict protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of our employees and customers."

The MTA plans to spend about $1 million testing hundreds of the lamps beginning next week.

Despite being less harmful than other UV rays, the UVC cleaning tests will still require the areas to be empty while being disinfected.

UV lights have been used in hospitals and urgent-care facilities but have not yet been deployed to disinfect the coronavirus or on public transit.

"This has never been done, as far as I know, on the scale that we plan on doing it with the knowledge that it kills COVID-19," said Mark Dowd, the MTA's chief innovation officer.

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