How to make indoor air saferFiveThirtyEight, July 20 2020, Kaleigh Rogers
Clean air could help defeat the pandemic
“If you’re waiting for a break from bad news about COVID, don’t hold your breath — or, actually, do hold your breath.
Experts have understood for months that the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, can be spread by hitching a ride inside large respiratory droplets that are expelled when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. But there’s growing evidence that smaller airborne particles called aerosols can carry and spread the virus, too.
The methods for preventing spread from respiratory droplets are familiar: social distancing, frequent hand-washing and wearing a mask. But the methods for stopping aerosols, which are lightweight and may be able to hang in the air for hours, are less obvious and often rely on technology. But can something like an air filter really stop a seemingly unstoppable pandemic?”
Through the WI lens
This is a slightly older article (July 2020), that is of particular note because schools are re-opening next week. As they should but caution, safety and consciousness is paramount. Scientific evidence recently emerged that, contrary to earlier beliefs, Covid-19 can be spread by tiny droplets that we breathe out when we respire, called aerosols. This is an alarming development because it means that the virus can literally hang in the air, particularly in enclosed spaces, and where ventilation is poor. While people are spending lots of outdoors in the summer, this is less of a problem, but as winter approaches, it will fuel fears of a renewed uptick in infections and means it will be hard to reopen interior spaces to larger congregations of people. This article explains how you can clean the air, either through effective ventilation or through using filters that will catch even tiny particles – the higher the MERV rating the better, apparently.
Clean air, of course, is not exactly a new idea; it’s been recognised as a key component of any serious wellness programme for some years now. Air pollution, especially through particulates is one the biggest enemies of health and wellbeing that society faces, and employers, hospitality providers, indeed any organisation that brings people into its buildings should address this and invest accordingly. By doing so, they will also build the confidence of workers to return to the office, of paying guests to come back to hotels, and for economies to get moving again. It would be ironic if it takes a global pandemic to get owners to clean up a problem already sitting on our doorstep.
What this article goes on to explain is how positive thinking – described here as ‘thriving’ – can counter the effects that come from the negativity outlined above, from reduced memory to diminished performance. Based on studying people in a series of organisations in different industries, one of the authors has found that people who attain this state are more resilient, experience less burnout, and are more confident in their ability to take control of a situation
“Behind the jargon what this is really about is how we address the challenge of biodiversity under threat, move away from fossil materials like plastic and concrete, and use nature in a sustainable way, all of which could be summed up by “living in harmony with nature”.”
“In the new ‘consensual contract’ between employer and worker, what’s required is a commitment from the employer to safeguard the wellbeing of their people, and a commitment in return from employees to take personal responsibility for their performance of their job.”
“Could loneliness not only be damaging our mental and physical health but also be making the world a more aggressive, angry place? And if so, what are the implications for a cohesive society and democracy?”
“On such fragile foundations are built the first steps towards a more ethical kind of business, and who knows what virtuous circles might result?”
“Scientific evidence recently emerged that, contrary to earlier beliefs, Covid-19 can be spread by tiny droplets that we breathe out when we respire, called aerosols.”
“Economic wellbeing is part of the story, but it is also about finding less stressful lifestyles, in which healthy diet figures as a meaningful measure of success.”
“The industry has every asset needed to be a guiding light in the shift toward personal health priority. Will that become a prevention legacy, a ‘phoenix rising’ from the Covid-19 ashes?”
“Looking at the bigger picture, putting the measures in this order represents a lost opportunity that the pandemic could have offered for a cultural pivot pivot towards getting people more focused on their health, a powerful statement of intent.”
“Employment is necessary to fulfil our most basic human needs such as food and shelter. Any significant increase in long-term unemployment will spell a retrograde step for human wellbeing like no other.”