Several researchers have pleaded to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization to recognize another means of coronavirus transmission: droplets becoming aerosolized and floating away into the air, according to CNN. Harvard environmental health researcher Joseph Gardner Allen says “healthy buildings” with high-efficiency particulate air filtration and ventilation systems can be key in keeping the public healthy. Just like in hospitals where HEPA filters create sterile rooms and remove almost all dust, pollen, and airborne particles, researchers say the filters should be utilized in potentially high traffic locations such as malls.
When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that malls in New York could not reopen until they installed high-efficiency particulate air filters capable of trapping the virus that causes Covid-19, Harvard environmental health researcher Joseph Gardner Allen was thrilled.
“I’ve been writing consistently since early February about how healthy buildings should be the first line of defense against the novel coronavirus,” said Allen, who directs the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
“I’m really grateful that we have a leader in the country — somewhere — who was finally talking about healthy buildings, ventilation and filtration,” Allen said. “That hasn’t happened before. It just hasn’t happened.”