Saturday, March 7, 2020

Airports AC systems could be promoting rapid coronavirus spread?

Airports AC systems could be promoting rapid coronavirus spread?

Dr K K Aggarwal
President CMAAO, HCFI and Past national President IMA

Opinion: All cases in India are linked to International air travel. All were asymptomatic before in the country of origin, during air travel and at the time of landing.

All developed fever and cough after a few days of reaching India.  One of the possibilities is that they acquired infections not in the country but the airport.

Average incubation period of corona is 3-5 days ( 2-14 days) from people coming from outside Wuhan.

Earlier studies have shown that corona viruses thrive better in cool, dry climates. That should make countries with hot and tropical weather, less conducive for the virus to thrive. Most of the studies indicate they don't persist well in hot, humid environments. Hot and humid meaning over 30 deg C, and with humidity levels of over 80 per cent.

The temperature in Iran is 14 degree (humidity 60%), Italy 14 (humidity 62%) , Dubai 23 ( humidity 90%) and Thailand 29 ( humidity 709%) degree centigrade. At this temperature the virus should not be living in Dubai and if circulating the only reason will be AC atmosphere. For visitor AC atmosphere will be the air-port where they stay for some time.

Also, air-conditioning is something that can't be helped in most countries especially during the hot months. Enclosed spaces, where it is less humid and cooler, could help to spread respiratory diseases.

Therefore, all air-ports have round the clock conditioners and may be the harbour of corona viruses.   Also, airports have travellers from all across the word.

The Diamond Ship

23% of  persons got corona virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship despite a two-week quarantine.

According to a Purdue University air quality expert, cruise ship air conditioning systems are not designed to filter out particles as small as the coronavirus, allowing the disease to rapidly circulate to other cabins.

It’s standard practice for the air conditioning systems of cruise ships to mix outside air with inside air to save energy. The problem is that these systems can’t filter out particles smaller than 5,000 nanometers. If the coronavirus is about the same size as SARS, which is 120 nanometers in diameter, then the air conditioning system would be carrying the virus to every cabin.


For aircraft, the coronavirus is more likely to spread by touch than through the air, since the air conditioning systems of planes are capable of filtering out particles as small as viruses. But air carrying the virus could transfer to other people sitting in the same row as an infected passenger or a neighboring row.

Toilets would be the biggest hot spot for the virus on a plane. Stool also contains viruses. Close the lid before you flush to limit how much goes into the air. Planes should provide wet wipes with alcohol to prevent the spread of the virus through touch.
General advisory: All international travellers should closely watch for fever and cough and report if they develop it.

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