There is growing evidence that the virus can remain airborne for longer times and further distances than originally thought. The spread of COVID19 may also occur via airborne particles in indoor premises.
COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation which has taken everyone by surprise. Declared pandemic by WHO during March 2020, the disease has spread all around the globe, creating social and economical disruption in over 200 countries. The virus, SARS-CoV-2, is the strain of coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Transmission was initially assumed to occur primarily via respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes but later discovered the virus may be airborne as well. The importance of different routes of transmission for SARS-CoV-2 is still an ongoing area of research.
SARS-CoV-2 virus remains airborne in indoor environments for hours, potentially increasing in concentration over time. It is important we understand how COVID19 is transmitted to protect and prevent further infections.
Every breath you take
Indoor air pollution presents a major hazard, directly affecting everyone’s health. To combat this problem you need to be aware and know the air quality at your home, or other indoor places you might visit: shopping mall, public library, at school or office environment.
Many factors can degrade the quality of the indoor air. Biological: viruses, bacteria, pollen, moulds. Chemical: adhesives, paints, cleaners. Particulates: dust, fireside smoke. And there are no exception for COVID19. The virus can be airborne, being present indoor environments.
Continuous measurements are needed more than ever to ensure indoor air quality and understand how well the heating, ventilation and AC systems are performing. Poor and inefficient air ventilation systems will increase the risk of virus and bacteria infections. Building and property managers must ensure the HVAC systems are properly functioning and check the environment for pollutants.
For example here, the European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning associations, which cover over 120,000 HVAC designers, building services engineers, technicians and experts across 27 European Countries, have issued a number of recommendations for Schools.
In some environments, like schools, gyms, or sopping malls it is important to measure and analyze the following environmental conditions to determine the persistence and exposure of SARS-CoV-2: temperature, humidity, air velocity and particulates (PM2.5, PM10). These will help in detail the research conditions and aid the building of a quantitative risk assessment.
Can we stop COVID19?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is highly contagious and as we have seen there are different transmission routes of the virus. Being airborne the virus can be present and transmitted, inside buildings, using a poor and inefficient ventilation system. Wearing a face mask and protective equipment, inside buildings will reduce the risk of infections and limit the spread of the virus.
Many countries across Europe were able to fight and see a decrease of the number of infections during Spring 2020. But now, when summer ends in Europe, everyone is asking if infections will raise again? And why?
As simple as that, as soon as people will start to interact with each other inside buildings, getting close to each other and having social contact the number of infections will raise again. The most important rule-of-thumb for people to keep in mind, is to have the product DENSITY x TIME as small as possible.
- Density: what space (volume of air) are you in? How many people are present in that volume?
- Time: How long will you be present in that space/room?
Example: grocery store shopping. Don’t go at peak times when there are a lot of people breathing inside that volume. Also, try to reduce the time spent in the store by focusing on essentials and browsing for sale items.
And to take the fight even further, until we have a vaccine, we should keep a number of social distance measures in place, test discover and isolate new cases. This way the spread of the virus will be minimized and we will reduce community transmissions.
How Kronometrix can help?
Kronometrix is offering a ready integrated solution to measure and analyze the indoor air quality, including all needed software and hardware components. Knowing the indoor air quality conditions will allow us to understand how efficient air ventilation systems are in use and how exposed we are to potential virus infections, like COVID19.
Kronometrix continuously tracks key environmental metrics in order to analyze the quality of the indoor air: carbon dioxide (CO2), air temperature (T), relative humidity (RH) , volatile organic compounds (TVOC) and particulates PM2.5, PM10.
The measurements are delivered for analytics conversion, using a visual and intuitive application, showing all instantaneous values, trends and historical data. The air quality sensor equipment is manufactured by a well established company in the field of indoor environmental measurements.
Continuous measurement over a longer period of time to produce more air samples ensure more comprehensive data to analyse and understand. For that you can easily deploy and use Kronometrix BreatheWell service.