For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones’ newsletters.Local government officials in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, are dropping bleach water from helicopters in an attempt to eliminate coronavirus—despite health officials advising against it.
Univision reported Sunday that the city’s mayor, Armando Cavada, is having sodium hypochlorite sprayed over more than 800 acres of border neighborhoods because “it’s the same material, or sanitizer, used to disinfect operating rooms,” Cavada said—a substance that cleans “totally well.”
On Wednesday morning, the helicopter was back at it, as immigration attorney Taylor Levy pointed out on Twitter:
Helicopter circling downtown Juarez area by the Paso del Norte bridge spraying a liquid that is presumed to be some sort of disinfectant against coronavirus. Officials standing near the bridge are saying its bleach water. It got on my skin but did not burn or smell significantly pic.twitter.com/0YmZxvdfKU
— Taylor Levy (@taylorklevy) April 29, 2020
After the first spray last week, a Juárez resident took to Facebook to say that family members had experienced eye irritation, coughing, and vomiting. Local health officials spoke out against the tactic. They argued there is no scientific evidence that spraying at that distance would help in the first place, Univision reported, and that it also negatively affects the city’s flora and fauna.
The first round of spraying is supposed to continue for a week and will cost approximately US$65,000, according to El Diario, a local newspaper.
While Mexico hasn’t been hit as hard by the coronavirus as other countries—there have been more than 16,700 confirmed cases and more than 1,560 deaths, including 259 and 64, respectively, in Juárez—it’s still slightly behind the US timeline. The latest government projections say Mexico will see the peak of the pandemic in mid-May.