Clearing the Air: COVID-19 Strategy Must Address IAQ

January 4, 2021

Early efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 focused on cleaning and sanitizing surfaces in all types of institutional and commercial facilities. As the pandemic has unfolded, researchers have emphasized the role of airborne transmission and HVAC systems in the spread of the disease and the particular risk facing workers in healthcare facilities.

European researchers recently stressed that it is particularly important to develop an appropriate strategy to protect healthcare workers from airborne transmission, according to Health Europa. The aerosol experts put forward recommendations to reduce airborne spread of the virus, such as staff training, regular ventilation, controlling fresh air consumption via carbon dioxide monitors, and using humidifiers to keep the relative humidity indoors at 40-60 percent – or, alternatively, using portable air purifiers.

The researchers stress that the risk of infection is particularly high in hospitals and nursing homes, as infected and healthy people stay in the same room for long periods of time.

According to experts, the rise in cases in Europe over the autumn was down to aerosol spread, as more people have been spending time indoors. Recent evidence has shown that COVID-19 has been detected on the dust filters of the air conditioning systems.

The authors highlight that no single measure can stop the airborne spread of the virus completely. They say it is important to control indoor air and combine different measures to achieve reduced spread.

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