Instead of hand sanitizer, soon we may be carrying hand-held UV devices that can zap the novel coronavirus within a few seconds.  There's only one drawback to this scientific breakthrough.

UV light is known to destroy coronaviruses, and some experts think it will work on the novel coronavirus.

But as Newsweek pointed out this week, UV is known to damage human skin, and exposure can be dangerous.  So if we're going to carry around coronavirus zappers the size of flashlights, we'll have to be careful and use the light only to disinfect objects or surfaces and not point it at people.  In other words, don't hand the devices to curious toddlers.

Scientists said this breakthrough discovery "potentially offers a solution to deactivate COVID-19 in aerosols that might be distributed in HVAC [Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning] systems of buildings," and it could help large venues disinfect before crowds roll in.

The UV devices that researchers have come up with so far are big and bulky, but those machines could start showing up at bus stations, airports, and football stadiums to zap surfaces.  With UV light on the seats and hand sanitizing stations every few steps, maybe the novel coronavirus wouldn't stand a chance and we could get back to concerts and football games.  Down the road, we could get that compact zapper for purses and car storage compartments.

If you're fair-skinned like me and have heightened worries about skin damage, the idea of encountering UV light everywhere we go is a little unnerving.  But if it kills the novel coronavirus and gets us all moving at full-speed again, it's a breakthrough that might be worth it.

Stadiums are waiting.