A strategy presented by the expert group on “Pandemic-proof buildings” in the form of a White Paper.
Over 150 years ago, the risks of waterborne diseases such as Cholera were tamed by the public provision of clean water. We argue that similar efforts are warranted to provide clean indoor air for all by removing the threats posed by airborne diseases such as COVID-19, influenza and tuberculosis.
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is a pathogen transmitted primarily via respiratory aerosols in the indoor air. These small particles, consisting of fluid released from the upper and lower respiratory tract, become airborne when people breathe, talk and sing. In this way, the pathogen becomes airborne.
The White Paper was developed by the interdisciplinary working group “pandemic-proof buildings”. The White Paper propose short-, medium- and long-term steps to achieve pathogen-free hygienic indoor air in an effective, sustainable, climate- and user-friendly way.
While many scientific questions remain unanswered, there are none speaking against immediately implementing at least temporary solutions to improve indoor air and lower the risk of aerosol transmission.
We recommend installing better mechanical ventilation systems, equipping rooms with CO2-sensors that enable users to act when their air quality is poor and installing in-room filtration or UV air disinfection systems.
The risk of indoor infection can be permanently and decisively reduced by the steps described in the White Paper. Further measures such as wearing masks additionally improve the effect. They are most necessary in particularly dangerous or contagious situations. Clean indoor air is an essential component in getting airborne viruses permanently under control.