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There is a lot of misinformation about the COVID-19 coronavirus, including dubious treatments and fraudulent cure-all claims ranging from tea elixirs and garlic to essential oils, colloidal silver and even drinking bleach. They don’t work.

But what about Geely’s Auto’s claim that its new Icon crossover vehicle can help protect occupants from being exposed to the virus?

Automotive Air Purification Process

The Chinese carmaker says it developed an “intelligent” air purification system for the Icon in record time in response to COVID-19. The virus which was first reported in Wuhan, China, last December, has killed more than 4,000 people worldwide—mostly in China.

Geely Icon (Image: Geely)

The filtration system works with the Icon’s air conditioner to isolate and eliminate potentially harmful elements, including bacteria and viruses, according to Geely. The carmaker says the device has an N95 rating, which means it can block at least 95% of very small (0.3-micron diameter) particles from entering the vehicle.

Tesla launched a similar system, which it calls the Bioweapon Defense Mode, in 2016. That filter is even more effective. It’s HEPA-rated, which means it is designed to block 99.97% of all 0.3-micron particles—including anthrax and the plague—and can clean air within the car.

Transmitting COVID-19

Although the COVID-19 strain typically is much smaller (0.06 to 0.14 microns), it is transmitted via larger respiratory liquid droplets.

So technically, Geely and Tesla’s filtration systems can help prevent the virus from entering a vehicle through the air filter. But such a scenario seems highly unlikely even without a biohazard filtration system.

Both systems are probably better suited to help counter urban air pollution. Geely already offers less advanced filters on several of its other models.

The Chinese carmaker also has pledged to spend $53 million to help combat COVID-19, which has affected more than 100,000 people worldwide.

How to Prevent Coronavirus

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 spreads when an infected person coughs or exhales respiratory fluids. Other people can catch the virus if they breathe in a droplet or touch a surface where one has landed, then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.

To help minimize risks, WHO suggests:

  • Regular and thorough hand cleaning with an alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.
  • Maintaining at least a 3-ft distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing, then immediately disposing of the used tissue.
  • Staying home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
  • Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where it is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling, especially the elderly and those with diabetes, heart or lung disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that it is still learning about the virus and its severity. Visit its website for the latest updates. 

Next for the Icon Crossover

In addition to the filtration system, the stylish compact model features mild-hybrid electrification and several driver-assist technologies.

Geely says it has received more than 30,000 pre-orders for the new crossover vehicle in recent weeks.

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