Gathering outdoors has provided people a safer alternative to meeting inside during the Covid-19 pandemic. But for those who spend their days in crowded indoor spaces — workers in office buildings and industrial facilities, students in schools, and the like — how can their indoor environments be made more similar to the outdoors? With better air quality and ventilation.
The pandemic presents a once-in-a-generation chance to make employees healthier and happier by improving indoor air quality, say experts; what to ask before returning to shared indoor spaces.
If you walk into a building and it feels hot, stuffy and crowded, chances are that there is not enough ventilation. Turn around and leave.
By paying attention to air circulation and filtration, improving them where you can and staying away from places where you can’t, you can add another powerful tool to your anti-coronavirus toolkit.
The exact risk is unknown, but it’s a good moment to make sure ventilation systems are working well.
The benefits of ventilation reach far beyond the coronavirus. What if we stop taking colds and flus for granted, too?
How is it that... we are still doing so little to mitigate airborne transmission? There are two key mitigation strategies for countering poor ventilation and virus-laden aerosols indoors: We can dilute viral particles’ presence by exchanging air in the room with air from outside (and thus lowering the dose, which matters for the possibility and the severity of infection) or we can remove viral particles from the air with filters.
Spaces with central air can benefit from improved systems, such as higher-quality mechanical filters—MERV 13 or higher, whatever the system can tolerate—and they don’t have to be fancy. Spaces without central air can benefit from portable air purifiers, or even a mechanical filter attached to a box fan. Humidifiers might also be helpful.
Improved ventilation, though, isn’t going to stop the spread of the coronavirus on its own.
The good news is that researchers believe the coronavirus is pretty easy to trap in existing high-performance mechanical filters. Though the coronavirus itself usually measures about a tenth of a micron, virus-containing particles in the air are much bigger, mostly between 1 and 10 microns.
There's a lot to consider. And as the science on COVID-19 has been evolving, the right actions haven't always been clear. Now, some building operators are intimidated or overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is finally acknowledging something that health experts have been saying for a while now: COVID-19 spreads through the air and can be inhaled by someone who is more than six feet away.
How to make indoor air safer (but not necessarily safe) during the pandemic.
It is important to think about ventilation and air cleaning. We take operable windows and HVAC systems for granted, rarely paying attention to how they work. Times are different now, and we need to learn how to best use these systems to decrease risk.
Air quality scientists are demanding a “paradigm shift” in ventilation standards.
Air purifier marketing suggests they make a meaningful difference to the risks of spreading COVID-19; here’s what the experts have to say.
Researchers who study tiny aerosols are concerned that the role of these particles is being downplayed in public health communication.
I have a few recommendations based on my experience in the HVAC space. However, it's also important to keep in mind that while air cleaning or filtration can help reduce airborne contaminants, it's not enough to completely prevent exposure to Covid-19. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "When used along with other best practices recommended by CDC and others, filtration can be part of a plan to reduce the potential for airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors."
One way to ensure compliance might be to issue ventilation certificates for buildings, similar to the food-hygiene certificates which already exist for restaurants. Occupants should also be given information about air quality routinely, she adds, through the use of monitors and sensors that can display a room’s carbon-dioxide levels or other relevant measures.
Reopening schools and businesses should upgrade air systems, open windows and take other measures to ensure clean air, scientists say
The body of scientific evidence pointing to airborne transmission as the main route by which SARS-CoV-2 spreads is now overwhelming. In outbreaks and super spreader events, there are often three common elements; an indoor space, an absence of masks, and a low level of ventilation.
Why does the government only emphasise washing, distance and masks, but never good ventilation? It has been obvious to me from the start that poorly ventilated interiors, such as in small shops, have atmospheres that are viral soups. The lack of emphasis on ventilation is insane.
Several Covid-19 mitigation measures — including improving ventilation, requiring adults to wear face masks and conducting frequent surveillance testing — can help schools stay open and students remain safe, two new studies suggest.
In combination with other risk-reduction strategies, air purifiers could be an affordable way to reduce the risk of unmitigated COVID spread between unvaccinated students and staff, and the inevitable spread between, and within, these children’s households.
Now a new public-health priority is becoming apparent: making indoor air cleaner.
Ventilation improvements, adding portable air cleaners and simply opening windows can lower the risk of infection in the office.
SARS-CoV-2 viral particles spread between people more readily indoors than outdoors. Indoors, the concentration of viral particles is often higher than outdoors, where even a light wind can rapidly reduce concentrations. When indoors, ventilation mitigation strategies can help reduce viral particle concentration.