As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to cause significant rates of hospitalisation, researchers are working on innovative ways to stop the spread of the virus. By successfully containing COVID-19, scientists could enable governments to relax lockdown restrictions and ease social distancing measures. As a by-product of this, businesses could resume their standard operations once again.
Until now, people have been required to make lifestyle changes in a bid to reduce virus transmissions. However, it’s possible that the use of ventilation systems could drastically reduce transmission rates and enable people to move around more safely.
How Do Ventilation Systems Work?
Ventilation systems are typically used in indoor environments to increase airflow. By removing stale air and introducing fresh air into a particular area, ventilation systems can help to keep rooms, floors and entire buildings cleaner and more hygienic. Of course, this isn’t the only way that ventilation systems work. Often, they’re combined with heating or cooling systems in order to create a more comfortable indoor temperature.
Can Ventilation Systems Prevent COVID-19 Transmissions?
The majority of COVID-19 transmissions are believed to occur when one infected person expels respiratory droplets containing the virus and these droplets are then touched or inhaled by another individual. However, many researchers believe that droplets of the virus can remain active and airborne for hours, which would mean that you don’t have to come into direct contact with an infected person in order to contract the virus.
When ventilation systems remove stale air from a room, they also remove any contaminated droplets that are present in the air. By doing so, they prevent these droplets from infecting anyone else. To take a closer look at how ventilation systems can effectively remove contaminants from the area, you can find various types here.
Of course, the success of such measures depends on using a ventilation system that powerful enough to properly ventilate the area. In a 50m x 50m room, you’ll need a stronger system than you would in a 10m x 10m room, for example. Additionally, ventilation systems will need to be set to circulate the air more frequently than they usually would, based on the size of the room and the number of occupants. In a study conducted into SARS, H1N1 and MERS in Hong Kong, an air circulation rate of nine times per hour was recommended in a semi-closed hospital ward of six patients.
Will Ventilation Stop the Pandemic?
There’s no guarantee that ventilation alone will halt the current COVID-19 outbreak. However, adequate ventilation could substantially reduce transmission rates. By doing so, this could drastically reduce the number of people affected by coronavirus. Furthermore, installing the right ventilation system could enable businesses, hospitality venues and other indoor environments to re-open more quickly and with extra safety measures in place.
While we’re still learning more about novel coronavirus, it’s important to take as many precautions as possible. With what we already know about ventilation and the widespread availability of ventilation systems for homes, businesses, schools and hospitals, it seems likely that it’s going to play a significant role in tackling this global crisis.