The coronavirus transmits faster indoors due to the poor or the lack of ventilation. Hence, the first action to curtailing the virus is to ensure that the enclosed room or office buildings are well-ventilated with proper air circulation and supply of fresh air.
Under the existing circumstances, it is probable that air conditioners, mainly the centralized ones, are a potential catalyst for COVID-19 and other airborne diseases. It goes without saying that there is an imperative requirement for advanced air filters to purify the air and UVGI to disinfect and improve the quality of air.
Aerosols are microdroplets, much smaller than respiratory droplets, and take a longer time to drop to the floor. They will be expelled by people breathing, laughing, or singing, unlike respiratory droplets that are expelled with forceful acts such as sneezing or coughing. According to scientists, a 5-micron droplet will travel tens of meters and also remain suspended in the air for longer. Thus an individual who is COVID-19 positive is likely to infect people standing even at a distance of 1-2 m in a small, poorly ventilated room. Given the concern about airborne transmission, building managers, safety experts, and others will have to take steps to optimize ventilation and airflow indoors and limit viral spread.
It is necessary to create awareness about the importance of installing high-efficiency air filtration systems, especially in commercial indoor spaces. Increased awareness will help only mitigate the infection risk but also better the overall air quality indoors.
It is the right time to think about improving air quality in buildings by significantly changing or upgrading heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems or by making physical changes to manage indoor airflows.
A better workplace can be the catalyst for a better new normal.