Air Conditioning suspected to play major role in coronavirus spread | Covid-19 Special

published on July 9, 2020

The air we breathe in normal times it'ssomething we can take for granted butlike so many things coronavirus haschanged that air conditioning systemsare suspected of a role in a series ofoutbreaks now businesses are going toextraordinary lengths to reassure us

That their air is safe nowhere is thatmore the case than in the skies withpassengers packed together taking in refiltered air so what will it take for usto breathe easily again with summer onthe horizon many of us will be tempted

To switch on the air conditioning tocool down but recent in size of aHarvard infectious disease expertsuggests that air conditioning useacross the southern United States may bea factor in spiking kovat 19 cases plus

A corona virus outbreak in a German meatplant was also linked to cooling systemsso how safe is the air we are breathinga common sight for these coronavirustimes people pouring off publictransport wearing face masks looking for

That first goal of fresh air masks inmany places are compulsory but as theweather gets warmeris that enough to ease worriesI feel if I have a mask in my childrenand I try to make sure that I'm like one

And a half or two meters away fromsomebody who also has masks I feel quitesure see it can't be too safeif you want to get it around this iswhat you have to domost modern trams and buses are fitted

With air-conditioning units which drawfresh air from the outside but gounderground and it's a slightlydifferent story though passenger numbersare still down compared to before thepandemic carriages are starting to fill

Up again in confined spaces without muchventilation these are considered higherrisk despite the lack of airconditioning transport officials pointto other sources of airflow so they usea lot of outside air to ventilate the

Vehicles the whole time they're goingand they're driving then of course atthe stations the doors open up so youhave ventilation there the station'sitself are ventilated by the trainsgoing back and forth cuz they have these

Huge trains pushing in with a speedmoving out the air a corona virusoutbreak is a meat plant in northernGermany has put air conditioning underthe spotlight again it follows a Chinesestudy that suggested air conditioning

Helped spread the virus to diners in aGuangzhou restaurant the airconditioning has a movement of the airthey can transfer the the droplets ofthe viruses from one to the othertherefore you need much more air fresh

Air from the outside in such casesscientists admit it's too early to makeany firm conclusions about airconditioning units as well as fresh airthey say high efficiency filters canhelp reduce the presence of the virus

Such filters are what airlines useinside their cabins recycling the airflow every three or four minutes butthis only kicks in during the flight andnot before and afterthese air conditions has to be active

Before the passion passengers enteredthe plane we think that air dry airpromotes a formation of aerosols andconsequently the possibility of aninfection as summer and the holidayseason approaches this year there's more

Than simply just the destination toconsider well for more let's bring inyunchan he's a mechanical engineeringprofessor at Purdue University in the USstate of Indiana and the editor in chiefof the academic journal building and

Environment welcome to DW young thescientific community seems to beundecided when it comes to airconditioning systems and the coronavirusdo you think they are safe to use duringa pandemic

Thank you very much encouraged to everbe me here the air conditioning systemin general I think is so what is safehowever the air distribution leaving theair conditioning system and in abuildings in airplanes and so on could

Apropos a certain type of risks okay canyou tell us how and why yes for examplewhen you come when you call you generatea lot of a droplet and lots of troublethat will go within the air inside of anenclosed space and this typically will

Wonder for about three to four minutesin the airplane and tend to tell – a inbuildings and this job letter will bethere and then you will breathe in ifyou stay in the same room with a Segapatient and then you make the catalyst

Probably the 19 okay now airlines aresaying it is safe to fly because theyuse special filters which the airline'sclaim clean almost 100% of the airaboard a plane is that true yeah it is -lately airplane usually high-efficiency

Particulate filter or HEPA filter whichcan filter out particulate with adiameter of 03 micron or larger so inprinciple you can filter out all thevirusesin here however and the information

Could just occur inside of an airplaneso before the area is being shutteredout by the air conditioning system as Ijust mentioned during Lisa 3 to 4minutes you'll have a very high chanceto get invited hmm okay when it's about

The filters that are a key here can theybe used in other places like publictransport like office buildings yes inprinciple Lisa HEPA filters can be usedin any air conditioning systems howeverthat's a problem because when you use a

HEPA filter they you know neither were apowerful thing in order to push the airsoon now most of the buildings publictransportation systems like train passesor several ways they are not equippedwith Lisa powerful fan so when you use a

HEPA filter that means that you willhave much less air so that's also adilemma to use allahabad filters unlessyou really make a overall change to havea very powerful fence there okay arethese fans being worked on to integrate

Them into regular air conditioningsystems in the air conditioning systemswe do have a normal fence but lots offans are typically only working togetherwith the low efficiency filters and alow efficiency field is typically

Installed in the buildings are normallygood because even let's not condemn 'okyou have no problem with that but theduring the pandemic of casa you have avery small virus and which could berecirculated in air conditioning systems

And now you might not be able to stopthat and yeah in general when it comesto air conditioning what can companiesdo to lower the risk of infection fortheir employees working in offices nowlet's great question Chris and the first

Thing you definitely want to do able tosee you can install any high-efficiencyHEPA filters there and I thought becauseit might not be possiblein a second way if you have to runair-conditioning systems

I will recommend that you use 100% ofoutside of air because the outside airis unlikely to contain any copy the 19butters so you surprised just outside ofhere will be what you say furthermore ifyou could open windows they will be

Great because the natural ventilation isvery good to reduce the leadconcentration of the virus the inside ofour spaces and if you could alsoconsider to buy a HEPA filter inside alockable for air cleaner because the

Last type of air cleaner is also veryefficient in getting out of theparticulate ends up let's yeah chairmanis a mechanical engineering professor atPurdue Universityyeah thank you for your insights thank

You very much please and now it is overto another expert in his fieldour science correspond to DerrickWilliams answering the questions yousent us I've heard different numbers forthe longevity of Czar's Cove two on

Different surfaces what's the scientificevidence behind it almost all of thecitations you find about numbers in thisarea eventually lead you back to onestudy that was published in mid-aprilin in the New England Journal of

Medicine the researchers behind itconducted a series of tests with SarrisCove two on surfaces made from differentmaterials and and their findings havebeen widely accepted as guidelines sincethen the scientists concluded that the

Virus was was most stable on plasticwhere it was was still viable at leastin small amounts after three days that'sfollowed by by stainless steel where itwas still measurable after two oncardboard on the other hand it was no

Longer detectable after 24 hours thosefigures are roughly consistent with whathad been observed about about viabilityin a related pathogenthe corona virus that causes SARS andand they've now been widely accepted as

A as a rule of thumb I haven't seen anyfurther research disputing them so howdangerous are surfaces do we need todisinfect everything that comes into thehome so if the virus can remain viablefor up to three days on some surfaces um

How much of a threat do those surfacespose objects that have been contaminatedand later transfer a disease are knownas fomites and there's been a lot ofdiscussion about how big a role they'replaying in the current pandemic

Increasingly though the consensus isthat that foe might transmission is theexception rather than the norm that'sbecause a whole sequence of events hasto happen for it to occur starting withthe smearing of significant amounts of

The virus on a surface by it by someonewho's infected when the clock startsticking as it begins to lose viabilityfrequently touch surfaces like doorknobsor or elevator buttons pose more of athreat than say a carton of milk from

The store but even if you pick the virusup on your hands you still have toactively transport it to your facewithin a certain time frame and not washyour hands in the interim in comparisonyou just have to be close enough to

Someone shedding the virus as an aerosoland to breathe it in and to catch thedisease that way so so most experts andhealth authorities say now that althoughfoam eye transmission is possible akovat 19:00 spreads much more easily


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