Really want to halt viruses? Fix indoor air like the Victorians ...

World

Really want to halt viruses? Fix indoor air like the Victorians fixed water

Instead of obsessing on ineffective measures like hand-washing, overhaul aircons, say world’s top experts

Jason Gale

A quiet revolution has permeated global health circles. Authorities have come to accept what many researchers have argued for more than a year: the coronavirus can spread through the air.

That new acceptance, by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), comes with concrete implications: scientists are calling for ventilation systems to be overhauled like public water supplies were in the 1800s after fetid pipes were found to harbour cholera.

Cleaner indoor air won’t just fight the pandemic, it will minimise the risk of catching flu and other respiratory infections that cost the US more than $50bn (about R708bn) a year, researchers said in a study in the journal Science on Friday. Avoiding these germs and their associated sickness and productivity losses would, therefore, offset the cost of upgrading ventilation and filtration in buildings...

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