The COVID-19 pandemic is generating tons of medical waste

The COVID-19 pandemic is generating tons of medical waste

CHINA-HENAN-ZHENGZHOU-NOVEL CORONAVIRUS-MEDICAL WASTE DISPOSAL (CN)A staff member collects and transfers medical waste at the Henan Provincial People’s Hospital in Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan Province, March 3, 2020.  | Xinhua/Hao Yuan via Getty Images

Garbage contaminated with bodily fluids or other infectious materials is becoming a bigger concern for hospitals as they brace for a surge in patients sick with COVID-19 in the US. Patients and health care workers are quickly going through medical supplies and disposable personal protective equipment, like masks. Eventually all that used gear piles up as medical waste that needs to be safely discarded.

In Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus first emerged, officials didn’t just need to build new hospitals for the influx of patients; they had to construct a new medical waste plant and deploy 46 mobile waste treatment facilities too. Hospitals there generated six times as much medical waste at the peak of the outbreak as they did before the…

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