The plan to disinfect the White House before Biden moves in is a 'huge waste of time and effort,' experts say

The White House.
(Image credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

"Nuking" the White House "with chemicals is not needed" to protect the incoming Biden administration from COVID-19, J. David Krause, an environmental and occupational health consultant, told Stat News, yet that appears to be the plan to disinfect the building before the transition.

Multiple outlets have reported that a Virginia-based contractor has been tapped to spray a disinfectant throughout the East and West Wings before President-elect Joe Biden moves in next month, but Krause — the past chair of the American Industrial Hygiene Association — and many other experts have said that strategy is not only ineffective, but also could be dangerous, both for people and for works of art.

"It's a huge waste of time and effort," Krause said. "It probably isn't as effective as people say it is. And it runs the risk of somebody actually breathing this stuff in where it may be extremely hazardous. You really only need to be treating the surfaces that people have been exposed to or can be exposed to."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Instead, a deep clean followed by another round of frequently-touched surfaces like elevator buttons and light switches should do the trick, Jason Marshall, the laboratory director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, told Stat. And both Marshall and Krause agree leaving the White House empty for a week between administrations could be the easiest solution, since studies have found the coronavirus only lasts for a few days on surfaces. Read more at Stat News.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us