COVID Via HVAC?

Bombshell report from Bloomberg furthers concerns about airborne transmission

A Bloomberg article released Monday was not the first of its kind, but it may become the most-read, due to its insight on how the coronavirus spreads and its questions raised about whether the virus can be contracted through air conditioning systems.

The speculation about airborne transmission has been ongoing since the virus first appeared in China in late 2019. One of the earliest studies of this kind, compiled by the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, found that during a two week stretch from January 26 to February 10, 2020, an outbreak of the virus in an air-conditioned restaurant in Guangzhou, China, involved 3 family clusters. “The airflow direction was consistent with droplet transmission,” that study, not released until this month, said. “To prevent the spread of the virus in restaurants, we recommend increasing the distance between tables and improving ventilation.”

While this is frightening news for citizens worldwide, it is darkly positive for HVAC manufacturers, who have already benefitted from a spike in demand in the aforementioned ventilation improvements, this week’s Bloomberg article, written by Thomas Black of Bloomberg Business, found.

“Building specialists are poring over how well heavy-duty filters block microbes and considering whether to install systems that use ultraviolet light or electrically charged particles in the ductwork to kill the virus,” Black wrote. “Companies including Honeywell International Inc., Carrier Global Corp. and Trane Technologies Plc are benefiting from the surge in demand, offering everything from air-monitoring sensors to portable filter machines to help make up for deficiencies in ventilation.”

For you Electrical Apparatus readers out there, Honeywell, Carrier, and Trane are not only familiar names, but major product manufacturers you’re all familiar with. Carrier, specifically, has been well-documented in this newsletter for the praise it has garnered from U.S. President Donald Trump. 

Furthermore, a University of Oregon study done in April also found the presence of the virus in a quarter of HVAC systems in hospitals that treated Covid-19 patients. The findings suggest the potential for transmission from shared air from locations separate from the infected person, the authors said. See the video above for more details on this study.

 

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