Letter: Easy ‘hack’ could help reduce spread of COVID-19 | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Easy ‘hack’ could help reduce spread of COVID-19

The current edition of Time magazine has an article by a University of Colorado-Boulder researcher, who postulates that aerosol or airborne spread of COVID-19 is much more important than currently thought by Centers for Disease Control or World Health Organization researchers. If true, then we have to do more than wash hands, wear a mask, keep our distance from each other and avoid crowds.

Fortunately, there may be a remarkably easy and affordable hack we can all do, at home or at work, to deal with aerosol spread of COVID-19. Jose-Luis Jimenez is professor of chemistry and a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at CU. Briefly, he and a couple hundred other scientists around the world are saying that the transmission of the virus can’t all be explained by touching contaminated surfaces or breathing in viruses riding on tiny drops of spit in the air. Something else is going on.

Jimenez and others are saying the COVID-19 virus may be airborne, hanging in the air for hours and in an environment without good ventilation, can infect people who wash hands, wear masks and practice social distancing. This is similar to tobacco smoke hanging around in the air. You can smell it long after the smoker extinguishes the cigarette, and at a fair distance. 

The hack is a box fan, air filters like those used in HVAC systems and duct tape. Blow or suck indoor air through a good filter and voila. Far fewer viruses hanging around, waiting to be breathed in. This is a temporary hack, not a permanent fix.

The HVAC industry will have to come up with systems suitable for the age of COVID-19, but the hack will help and buy us time. A good hardware store can hook you up in minutes.

Brodie Farquhar

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