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Does air-con help the spread of the Covid-19 virus?

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Does air-con help the spread of the Covid-19 virus? | Samui Times
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A Chinese study suggested that air conditioning could help spread Covid-19 Virus.

The study, published on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and approved by the Ethics Committee of the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, looked at 10 cases of Covid-19 virus in three families at the same time at a restaurant in Guangzhou, China.

It was found that the transmission of the droplets could have been propelled by the air-conditioning of the restaurant across three tables, infecting other diners.

The index patient arrived from Wuhan at the end of January and dined at a restaurant with three family members. Two other families were less than a meter away at the adjacent tables.

Later that day, the index patient developed a fever and cough and went to the hospital where he was tested positive. A total of nine others from the three families became ill with the virus by early February.

The only known source of exposure among the three families was the restaurant patient index. The study found that coronavirus was transmitted to one member of each of the other two families at the restaurant and that further infections were caused by intra-family transmission.

The windowless restaurant had an air conditioning vent on one side of the room and a vent on the other. The three families had dinner in the restaurant for about an hour in the immediate vicinity.

Of the 83 clients that day, 10 became ill with Covid-19; the other 73 were identified as close contacts and quarantined for 14 days. Both the air conditioner and the quarantine customers tested negative for coronavirus during that time.

The study found that the transmission of the virus in this outbreak could not be explained by droplet transmission alone. “Larger respiratory droplets remain in the air for only a short time and travel only a short distance, generally speaking. The distances between the patient index and persons at other tables were all less than 1m.” However, “strong airflow from the air conditioner could have spread droplets from table to table.”

The study concluded that the key factor for infection was the direction of airflow and that, in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, restaurants should increase the distance between tables and improve ventilation.

Having largely succeeded in stemming the local transmission of the virus, the Chinese authorities, on guard against the second wave of contagion fears, are now posing the greatest danger, Reuters said.

SOURCE: The Nation

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