Improving ventilation in buildings could help reduce spread of coronavirus, study says
There is new information about using some simple tools which can reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
A new study found as many as 450,000 cases have been prevented, in parts of the US where face masks are mandatory, reports CBS News.
Meanwhile, another study found out that the ventilation system improvements can significantly lower the amount of time respiratory droplets stay airborne.
For tonight's @CBSEveningNews, we spoke with @KimberlyPrather, a PhD studying aerosols at @UCSanDiego. Her work is extremely relevant to understanding how to reduce the spread of the #SARS-CoV-2. For a deeper dive, check out this longer video. #Covid_19 https://t.co/LzmqYTAIY0— Jonathan LaPook, M.D (@DrLaPook) June 16, 2020
According to experts, it is better to crack a window or open a door because the coronavirus can float through the air indoors.
When a person coughs or sneezes, the droplets containing the virus can travel, with larger ones traveling up to about 6 feet.
But smaller ones — particles called aerosols — can float invisibly through an entire room, and can be produced through normal speech, the report said.
Dr Kimberly Prather of the UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography is a specialist on studying aerosols.
"The zinger for this virus is that basically the aerosols become airborne and potentially infectious through hours. And so if the aerosols fills a room and everybody breathes that air, that just opens up the number of people who can be infected," she said.
At a choir practice in Washington State in March, one person likely infected 52 others, due to spreading of aerosols, CBS said.
Joe Allen, director of Harvard's Healthy Buildings Program and a ViacomCBS consultant, weighed in on aerosols.
He said: "We are not recognizing the potential for airborne. Opening up the windows is easy and cheap. But what about actually changing the ventilation system of a big building?
"I am not saying people have to go out and revamp their entire mechanical system," Allen explained.
"Bring in a bit more outdoor air, which most building systems can do. And if you're recirculating air, you need to improve or put in a higher efficiency filter.
“In fact, every building can be a healthy building. It does not cost that much to get us there," he added.
New research suggests sunlight can deactivate the virus in aerosols and wearing a mask is another crucial layer of protection against the airborne spread of the virus, the report concluded.