Recent articles and news items showed groups of people (mainly in Asia) spraying whole cities with disinfectant (as shown on a photo below). Apart from questions about the used substances, dose, frequency and its effectiveness, I was wondering if this practice is not worsening the chances of infection for the following possible reasons:

  1. As people likely breath in this disinfectant solution, isn't that irritating the respiratory system and therefore increasing risk of infection or more specifically worsening possibly already existent respiratory diseases such as COPD or Asthma resulting in the same effect (increasing risk of infection)?
  2. Doesn't spraying such amounts of disinfectant in the open air "kill" many healthy organisms and bacteria that are beneficial for human?
  3. Setting of a chain reaction as a result of 2. indirectly harming humans in the longer term?

For example an article on businessinsider.com shows that bleach is used. While several articles state that inhaling bleach causes damage to lungs.

In Bozhou, China, in a photo from February, workers spray disinfectant to protect against the novel coronavirus.


1 Answer 1


The risk of infection is from inhalation of viral particles, or, from those particles landing on mucosal surfaces including the eyes, or being transferred there by ones hands.

I am not aware of any data that shows people with respiratory disease are more or less likely to develop covid-19. But if you have a co-morbid illness, then you're less likely to survive.

Most "healthy" bacteria are ingested and not inhaled.

The disinfectant is likely to be dilute bleach which converts quickly back to mainly table salt, oxygen and water with a few adsorbable organic halides. They won't be spraying in your immediate vicinity without telling you to move on until after it's been inactivated.

Remember also that most municipal water supplies effectively have had bleach added to them.


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