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Why isn't increasing ventilation of public spaces part of the best practice response to the Coronovirus?

by ChristianKl1 min read12th Mar 20208 comments



It's my impression that there's some spread via aerosol in public spaces like buses and trains. By increasing ventilation in those spaces by opening more windows I find it plausible that we could reduce that transmission.

Why aren't health orgs pushing for increasing ventilation of public spaces?

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Here's a paper on SARS-1 that seems highly-relevant:

Role of air distribution in SARS transmission during the largest nosocomial outbreak in Hong Kong.

Our study revealed the need for the development of improved ventilation and air-conditioning systems in an isolation ward or a general hospital ward for infectious respiratory diseases. The outbreak in Ward 8A, which was in a general hospital and could house nearly 40 patients, demonstrated the cross-infection risks of respiratory infectious diseases in hospitals if a potential highly infectious patient was not identified and isolated. Our example simulation, which extended the SARS Busters' design for an isolation room to Ward 8A, demonstrated that there was room for improvement to minimize cross-infection in large general hospital wards.

Here's a good op-ed on this topic: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/04/opinion/coronavirus-buildings.html

The author suggests that the lack of attention on building ventilation is due to uncertainty about how important close contact (i.e., close enough that a person's respiratory droplets could directly land on you) is for transmission, vs. more indirect airborne transmission.

(E.g., from CDC website: "Early reports suggest person-to-person transmission most commonly happens during close exposure to a person infected with COVID-19, primarily via respiratory droplets produced when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Droplets can land in the mouths, noses, or eyes of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs of those within close proximity. The contribution of small respirable particles, sometimes called aerosols or droplet nuclei, to close proximity transmission is currently uncertain. However, airborne transmission from person-to-person over long distances is unlikely.")