Images: USA Today, April 2020
Why worry about the air?
There is a reason why our firm is so passionate about RenewO2.
With so much focus placed on social distancing and surface decontamination, many have asked us why Johnstone & Lloyd, LLC so passionately recommends the RenewO2 systems. The simple answer stems from what we have no for decades about how diseases are spread. In our infectious disease control programs we have always stressed the dangers of "contact", but contact is not only a physical experience such as brushing up against someone, but is more often contact with elements produced by others.
We knew early in 2020 that aerosolized droplets can lead to infection. According to the scientific brief from the World Health Organization (WHO), "Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur through direct, indirect, or close contact with infected people through infected secretions such as saliva and respiratory secretions or their respiratory droplets, which are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or sings."
As our battle with COVID-19 progressed, we discovered that the virus also spread through aerosols in indoor settings with poor ventilation. It was for this reason that mask mandates, social distancing and even closures became the new normal.
In early 2020, 239 medical experts wrote a letter to the WHO urging the organization to react to the mounting evidence that aerosolized droplets floating in the air can cause infection. The WHO’s previous guidelines stated that only larger droplets expelled from coughs and sneezes falling to the floor or onto surfaces could spread the disease.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that under the right conditions, liquid droplets from sneezes, coughs and just exhaling can travel more than 26 feet and linger in the air for minutes if not longer.
The study focuses on a turbulent gas, the cloud emitted when someone coughs, sneezes or exhales. Liquid droplets of various sizes drop onto surfaces, while others can be trapped in a cloud that can swirl around a room with a payload, in theory, of pathogen-bearing droplets.
According to a 2009 World Health Organization report, when someone coughs, they can spray up to 3,000 droplets. A sneeze could yield 40,000.
Proper ventilation is not always the answer as the study found that the "turbulent cloud" entered HVAC systems and that samples taken within building air ducts proved to test positive.
Today the battle is still COVID, but tomorrow it will be another threat, another disease or another virus. In order to mitigate properly and prevent repeating outbreaks, closures, lost wages, lost time and even lost lives, our partnership with RenewO2 brought us resolution. While doctors, scientists and specialists around the globe strive to create vaccines and make grand efforts to eradicate viruses like Coronavirus, we knew that today's fight (and tomorrows) was going to be in the air.