CNN published a 3,000 word exposé over the weekend about a fundamental “Covid-19 mitigation measure” that could save countless American lives: Opening windows.
“Two-plus years into the Covid-19 pandemic, you probably know the basics of protection: vaccines, boosters, proper handwashing and masks. But one of the most powerful tools against the coronavirus is one that experts believe is just starting to get the attention it deserves: ventilation,” writes the Cable News Network.
“The challenge for organizations that improve air quality is that it’s invisible,” said Joseph Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
It’s true: Other Covid tools are more tangible. But visualizing how the virus might behave in poorly ventilated spaces can help people better understand this mitigation measure.
Allen likens it to cigarette smoke. “If I’m smoking in the corner of a classroom and you have low ventilation/filtration, that room is going to fill up with smoke, and everyone is breathing that same air.”
Then apply that to the outdoors.
“I could be smoking a cigarette, you could be a couple of feet from me, depending which way the wind was blowing, you may not even know I’m smoking.”
If you’re indoors, you could be breathing in less fresh air than you think.
“Everybody in a room together is constantly breathing air that just came out of the lungs of other people in that room. And depending on the ventilation rate, it could be as much as 3% or 4% of the air you’re breathing just came out of the lungs of other people in that room,” Allen said.
He describes this as respiratory backwash.