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Covid-19 Case, Test, Omicron News: Live Update

credit…The New York Times Libby March

With the pandemic entering a new stage in the United States, fewer precautions, and the rise of the more contagious Omicron subvariety BA.2, the Biden administration emphasizes the importance of reducing the risk of indoor aerosol transmission. I started to emphasize. Pandemic.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued expert guidance to building managers, contractors and business owners, summarizing best practices for ventilation, air filtration and air disinfection from academic experts and federal agencies over the past two years. The recommendations on page 2 are shown. Its implementation could be undertaken with federal funding from the $ 1.9 trillion US rescue program that President Biden signed the law a year ago.

Dr. Alondra Nelson, Head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, said last week that guidance is part of an initiative called the “Challenge to Clean the Air in Buildings.” She quotes the guidance, “Now all of us can work together to ask friends, family, neighbors and colleagues what they can do to make it safer to be together indoors. You need to be aware of that. “

“For decades, Americans have demanded that clean water flows from our faucets and pollution restrictions be placed on our chimneys and tailpipes,” she wrote in a post. .. “

Initially, US federal health authorities took time to identify aerial transmission of the virus. It was in October 2020 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention realized that the virus could be transmitted in the air after many infectious disease experts warned that the coronavirus had traveled over the sky. Scientists have sought to focus more on dealing with that risk for over a year.

This initiative is “a really big deal,” said William Burnfres, a professor of architectural engineering at Penn State University and head of the Epidemic Task Force of the American Society for Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning. Often the most difficult part. “

With its roots in the dawn of skyscrapers in the late 19th century, this society is a global non-profit technology society that develops consensus indoor air quality standards, especially referred to by the US Building Standards Act.

When the pandemic began to dominate the world in March 2020, Dr. Burnfres’ task force was created, and new federal recommendations were closely followed along with its guidance. Building quality standards. Please note that existing standards have not been able to protect people from coronavirus infections.

The virus can be transmitted in a variety of ways. In the early days of the pandemic, the coronavirus was thought to have been transmitted primarily through droplets excreted like influenza during coughing and sneezing, or perhaps through contact with contaminated surfaces. The coronavirus floated in the air and spread to small particles floating in the indoor space.

MERV ratings for filters used to build ventilation systems, as well as high quality mask rating systems where high-tech filter materials trap at least 94-95% of the most dangerous particles (N95, KN95, and KF94). The higher the rating from 1 to 16, the better the filter is for trapping particles.

New federal guidelines advise buildings to upgrade to at least a MERV 13 filter that traps more than 85% of dangerous particles. Prior to the pandemic, many buildings used MERV8 filters that were not designed for infection control.

Long before the pandemic, studies showed that indoor air quality affects the health of students and workers. A Harvard University study of more than 3,000 workers showed a 53% increase in sick leave for employees in poorly ventilated areas. Ventilation test scores and reduced absenteeism.

“Improving the air in the room has advantages over Covid-19. It reduces the risk of influenza, colds, or other illnesses being spread by the air and helps improve overall health.” Wrote Dr. Nelson.


March 27, 2022

Due to an editorial mistake, earlier versions of this article misunderstood the amount of the US bailout plan that President Biden signed last year’s law. It was $ 1.9 trillion instead of $ 1.9 billion.

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