Several authorities, including World Health Organization (WHO) and US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have accepted the facts that Covid-19 can spread through the air. Now ventilation system must be reviewed and adapted to meet the need for safer indoor air that protects both staff and patients.
“We are used to the fact that we have clean water coming from our taps, we should expect clean, pollutant- and pathogen-free air from indoor spaces.”— Dr Lidia Morawska, professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia
Dr Lidia Morawska, one of 39 of the researchers in a recently published study in the journal Science, demands recognition that infections can be prevented by improving the ventilation systems. The scientists are requesting WHO to bring forward an indoor air quality guideline, where ventilation standards include airflow, filtration, and disinfection rates.
The indoor climate affects how long infectious aerosols remain hazardous. Humidity, air change rate and the direction of the airflow all influence on how long aerosols are whirling around in the room, before being evacuated or falling to the floor or other surfaces where they can be manually removed by cleaning. As Dr Raina MacIntyre states, scrubbing hands and surfaces was for little gain, when the pandemic wreaked destruction all over the world.
“The role of airborne transmission has been denied for so long, partly because expert groups that advise government have not included engineers, aerosol scientists, occupational hygienists and multidisciplinary environmental health experts.”— Dr Raina MacIntyre, professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia
The costs of upgrading the ventilation and filtration would ultimately pay off in the end, as productivity loss from sick leave, increased need of care and even mortality would decrease when avoiding bacteria and virus transmission through the air.
“If we don’t do the things we are saying now, next time a pandemic comes, especially one caused by a respiratory pathogen, it will be the same.”— Dr Lidia Morawska, professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia
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