The lieutenant governor of Idaho on Tuesday announced a plan to use millions of dollars from the state’s CARES Act fund to place “walk-through disinfectant cubes” in the state Capitol, a technology that has previously been found by experts to be ineffective and potentially unsafe.
The Idaho Press reported that Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (R), made the pitch during a statewide virtual press conference with pastors and business owners in protest of Gov. Brad Little’s (R) recent COVID-19-related restrictions amid a surge in infections. McGeachin proposed purchasing “very high-tech equipment” manufactured by Xtreme Manufacturing in Las Vegas.
McGeachin said that with the technology, “a person can walk through a cube and be disinfected from head to toe, including on the bottom of their feet.”
Several experts, however, have disputed and warned against using such technology.
A June study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene found that “walk-through sanitation gates” were ineffective and potentially dangerous, adding that it also violates World Health Organization standards.
“Fumigation is meant for inanimate objects and surfaces, and it should never be used on people,” the study said.
The study, as well as a study from May by the Royal Society for Public Health that had similar findings, have both been cited by the National Institutes of Health.
According to the Idaho Press, McGeachin wants to reserve $34,000 for four of the company’s “Xtreme Mobile Air Disinfection System” for use in the state Capitol; $25,500 for three of its air disinfection systems for the proposed mobile units; and $8.64 million to hire more than a hundred nurses to staff the mobile units, which would be placed in three different regions of the state.
“There are so many ways that we can help others, but we can’t give of our talents when we keep ourselves from others,” McGeachin declared. “The message we keep hearing in our communities in Idaho and across the country is that we should stay away from each other, and this is so unnatural for us as human beings.”
As of Nov. 14, Idaho is under modified Stage 2 coronavirus restrictions, which states that businesses and governmental agencies may remain open, as long as they adhere to social distancing, mask wearing and sanitation requirements.
The order also prohibits public and private gatherings of more than 10 people and mandates that customers at bars, nightclubs and restaurants must remain seated.
In October, McGeachin was featured in a video by Libertarian group Idaho Freedom Foundation in opposition to Idaho’s coronavirus restrictions.
McGeachin appears in the video sitting in a large vehicle adorned with an American flag and smiles as she places a handgun on top of the Bible.
“We recognize that all of us are by nature free and equal and have certain inalienable rights,” she says. “Among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property and pursuing happiness and securing safety.”
As of Wednesday, Idaho has recorded a total of approximately 96,500 COVID-19 cases, with 1,773 new infections reported that day alone. The state has also had 895 fatalities as a result of the virus.