PARIS – Fresh air against the virus. With the winter approaching, the French authorities insist on the need to air closed spaces against contagion through ‘viral clouds’. “Good ventilation of the premises is an important measure regarding the risk of aerosolization,” says the Directorate-General of Health in a statement. Opening the windows at least three times a day for fifteen minutes is the new recommendation in France that adds to the usual that apply almost everywhere: mask, distance, hand washing.
And there is someone who claims it is one of the secrets of the lower impact of the virus in neighboring Germany: Germans are used to keeping windows open even in the middle of winter. Angela Merkel insisted on this national habit: “It is perhaps one of the cheapest and most effective ways to contain the spread of the virus,” said the Chancellor who has become famous also for her simple way of explaining the fight against the pandemic. “Regular ventilation in all private and public premises can significantly reduce the risk of infection,” the German government added.
Many scientific experts are now convinced of the risk of contamination in the air, as well as through direct contact with droplets. This summer, over two hundred scientists had asked the World Health Organization to recognize the possibility of an aerial spread of Covid. A few days ago, the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially added aerosol to the list of possible ways of spreading the coronavirus.
An efficient ventilation system is already on top of the measures suggested by experts in enclosed public spaces, from schools to transport. Recent studies carried out by Airbus, Boeing and Embraer highlight, for example, the low risk of contamination in aircraft thanks to the filtering system. Air in an aircraft cabin is completely renewed every 2 to 3 minutes, averaging 20 to 30 times per hour, compared to five times per hour for a hospital operating room and two to three times per hour for a meeting room. The risk of being contaminated by one’s seat neighbor in an airplane would therefore be – according to the aircraft manufacturers – comparable to a safety distance of 2 meters.