Your AC could be spreading COVID-19: Here’s how

A few days ago, the World Health Organization suggested that COVID-19 could be spreading through particles in the air that are exhaled indoors and indoors. The possibility, if confirmed, would mean that the new coronavirus behind the disease is more easily transmitted than previously thought. And, now, a Harvard scientist says that airborne transmission could also mean that air conditioners could be contributing to the spread.

That’s how.

What is airborne transmission?

In airborne transmission, by exhaling, speaking, or singing, an infected person releases viral particles in the form of extremely small, dry aerosols (less than 5 microns), which remain suspended in the air for hours and infect other people sitting on them. the same environment. , breathing the same air.

These particles can easily glide across the room before losing their infectivity.

What does the WHO say about the transmission of COVID-19?

Since the start of the pandemic, the WHO has said that COVID-19 is spread primarily through larger respiratory drops, released by sneezing / coughing, and airborne transmission was only possible in medical settings.

But recently, after receiving criticism from more than 200 experts, the UN agency acknowledged that there is “emerging evidence” of airborne spread in “crowded, closed and poorly ventilated environments” and is investigating it.

If true, AC could be a major problem

The possibility of airborne transmission, if confirmed, would mean that the virus can spread more easily indoors.

Several studies have already shown a high attack rate indoors, and according to Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Edward Nardell, installed air conditioning units, especially in corporate settings with large numbers of people, could be contributing to the problem. and contributing by propagating.

Air conditioners bring little outside air

Dr. Nardell conducted extensive research on the impact of AC units on the spread of airborne infections and concluded that AC increases the risk of transmission. This is because they provide the cooling experience indoors, which largely blocks fresh air from outside and forces people to breathe the same air particles exhaled by another person.

“We call it rebreathed air fraction, and if someone is infectious, often asymptomatic, you’re going to be rebreathing their small particles,” the Harvard professor told ABC Action News.

External environmental conditions do not help the case

Even though ACs increase the risk of transmission, people find it difficult to avoid using them due to increased heat and humidity outdoors.

At home, you can perhaps open doors / windows for ventilation and support without AC. But, in closed office spaces where people work for hours, it is impossible to do it without air conditioning, and allowing ventilation and dehumidification of air is not economically feasible.

Air conditioning can also carry large particles

Dr. Nardell also noted that air conditioning units can generate drafts that can carry infected particles. This further increases the risk of airborne transmission indoors where people are no longer as far apart as they would be outdoors. But it also says that such particles can be removed by installing cheap and affordable UV light germicidal lamps.

So far, COVID-19 has infected more than 1.27 million people. Concerns about airborne transmission of COVID-19 arise as the disease continues to wreak havoc worldwide. It has already infected more than 1.27 million crore and killed more than 5.6 lakh worldwide, and the United States is the most affected.

Back to top button