The Broncos’ ‘Nano-Crystalline’ Mist Won’t Really Prevent COVID-19

In Tuesday’s Hot Clicks: the Broncos engage in security theater, what NHL hat tricks look like in an empty arena and more.
Publish date:

And this somehow prevents guys from breathing infectious particles on each other?

We’re going to find out pretty soon whether it will be possible to play NFL football this year. Thus far, the league has seen a smattering of positive coronavirus tests, but that’s before guys started reporting to training camp. Now that they’re showing up to team facilities to begin preseason work, players are going to be interacting with each other a lot more and the chances of spreading a highly contagious disease are obviously increased. 

If the NFL is going to have a season this year, it’s going to have to avoid teamwide breakouts like we’ve seen in MLB with the Marlins and Cardinals. The league and the players’ union just approved changes to the CBA to deal with the threat of the virus. Players can be fined for refusing a coronavirus test and disciplined for engaging in activities deemed high-risk for virus transmission. Teams are renovating their training to facilitate social distancing sanitation. (The Chiefs have a 13-minute video on YouTube explaining their procedures.)

Not all of those COVID-era adjustments are equally effective, though. Check out what the Broncos are having players do on their way to the practice field. 

Allow Aric DiLalla, a writer for the team’s website, explain what’s going on here. 

Two minutes on Wikipedia taught me that nano-crystalline structures can be used for vapor deposition, such as metalorganic vapour-phase epitaxy, to coat a surface with a chemical vapor—in this case, sanitizer. Fancy! But will it really help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Even if it does do an adequate job of sanitizing a player’s clothes, that’s not how people become infected. A person infected with the virus spreads it through microscopic droplets of moisture that escape through the mouth and nose. You can do all the metalorganic vapour-phase epitaxy you want, but if Von Miller is face-to-face against Garrett Bolles in a drill and one of them is infected, it doesn’t matter how clean their jersey was when they walked on the practice field. 

The Broncos’ magic mist reminded me of an article I read in The Atlantic last week headlined “Hygiene Theater Is a Huge Waste of Time.” Scientists are in agreement that surface transmission of the coronavirus is exceedingly rare. It’s highly unlikely (though not impossible) that you could become infected from touching something like an elevator button. The real risk is airborne transmission, which is what makes being around other people dangerous. When restaurants and other businesses boast about the “deep cleaning” they’re doing, it does little more than provide patrons with a false sense of security, the article argued.

The mist’s impact on the number of cases in Denver will probably be negligible. If the Broncos (and the rest of the NFL) follow all the guidelines laid out by the CDC and the league, hopefully we can have football in the fall. 

The best of SI

Rob Manfred tried to pin the blame for MLB’s problems, but he’s the one at fault. ... The five biggest takeaways from the NBA’s restart thus far. ... The Orioles’ hot start is proof that anything can happen in this abbreviated baseball season. ... The Pac-12 issued a response to players’ threats boycott the season.

Around the sports world

Odell Beckham Jr. says he doesn’t think the NFL should be playing football this year. ... NBC Sports shuttered some of its popular blogs and laid off some prominent writers. ... Derek Jeter said Marlins players had a “false sense of security” that led them to break MLB’s coronavirus protocols.

There still needs to be hats on the ice for a hat trick, even if there aren’t any fans to throw them

His second goal was ridiculous

I hate when you can actually see a guy’s Achilles snap

You could do worse

You have to be a special kind of stupid to go to a casino when the whole baseball season relies on you not getting sick

Who’s more superstitious: goalies or starting pitchers?

People won’t come, Ray

I couldn’t even do this while walking

The first time this trick has ever been landed

All those in favor say “aye”

Not sports

Scientists have discovered that beetles swallowed whole by frogs have the ability to escape unharmed through the “back door.” ... Insane flooding in Bangladesh has covered as much as 37% of the country’s land. ... A mansion reputed to be Ireland’s most haunted is up for sale. ... A man believed to have been murdered was found alive living in the woods five years later. ... Three men stranded on an island in Micronesia were rescued after writing SOS in the sand.

How instant coffee is made

Alabama principal makes COVID-19-themed “Can’t Touch This” video

Maybe that’s a sign you shouldn’t be at Disney right now

A good song

Email with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.