You can now count trains, hospitals, cars, offices as places where you have to think twice before stepping in because they are all not safe for you. Virus, germs and pathogens are every where. Some are very deadly of course and some will get you sick. You will have to be very careful when going into a confined space where there is very little ventilation to speak of. And when there is no ventilation, especially when there is no opening for fresh air to seep in, then what you breathe there is just recirculated air and you also breathe in pathogens without your knowledge. Worst, some people do not show any symtoms when inflicted with illness and they go around spreading pathogens while talking at the top of their voice as if they are the god ordained apostles. But to your knowledge, allmost all comfortable spaces have air conditioning but no ventilation because they can't afford to have leakages that can drive up their energy cost! So what to do?
How is Covid-19 transmitted?
A case study of how a Chinese restaurant air conditioning system help spread Covid-19 – should we then redesign the air conditioning system?
Here is a picture of how air conditioning help spread diseases published in a letter from several scientists in Guangzhou addressed to the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, based at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)
* Patient A1 was infected with COVID-19, but asymptomatic when they dined with their family (A2-5) on January 24.
* The AC picked up air droplets from the breath of patient A1 and blew them around the room. Water droplets usually don’t travel more than a meter without assistance.
* Nine other people (four members of A, three of B, and two of C) later tested positive for COVID-19 and were traced to to A1.
“The key factor for infection was the direction of the airflow,” a group of scientists from Guangzhou noted and felt worrying because the implications could be wide ranging as we are heavily pampered by air conditioned spaces and something we could not do without. It is no wonder why our health care providers are easily infected by Covid-19 in their working environments! The issue seems to be an enclosed space; air is recycled ad infinitum. Perhaps we need to redesign the air conditioning system to better suit the situation that we are facing now and the foreseeable future. Air conditioning was designed in 1902 and was widely used since the fifties. It was designed to efficiently cool a confined space; no windows to bring in fresh air. Is there then a solution? Yes, it is called ‘Open Space Air Conditioning.’
Here is a graphic of how a virus is spread
One thing good about about lockdowns - flu-like illness came crashing south!
Rates of flu-like illness drop to 'almost zero' during lockdown; that is according to New Zealand's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. He further added that staying at home and 'breaking the chain of transmission' for the Covid-19 outbreak had also broken the chain of transmission for other respiratory illness in the community too.
Meanwhile, early data from the FluTracking survey, an Australian Research entity which asks respondents simple questions about cough and fever symptoms every week, suggests that the incidence of those symptoms plummeted after physical distancing measures were introduced in Australia from mid-March. Flu-like symptoms fell from a peak of 1.6 per cent to a low of 0.3 per cent. The incidence of these symptoms in the community at the same time last year was 1.8 per cent. That's a difference of 1.5 percentage points (83.3 per cent) and represents a historic low for the survey.So how does it tick?
The most probable answer is that people were made to stay away from public places where there is very little ventilation. And when there is no ventilation, you just breathe in recirculated air which is most likely infested with pathogens; coming from people who sneeze, cough and talk aloud. That is also the reason why people tend to get sick easily unknowingly catching the bug while doing their everyday things. If someone falls sick in your office, then it would not be surprise that others would catch the sickness too. Experiments had shown that you can transmit the germs even while you are talking! Should we not then take a serious look at the HVAC system that is running our spaces with the aim of re-engineering the whole HVAC thing even though it will 'cost an arm and leg?' It would also not surprise us if the general practitioners (doctors) also tell the same story that very few people came to their clinics with flu symtoms! Concerned Doctors have advised that restaurants and other public places not to open for dine-in after lockdowns are lifted if they have not made alterations to their ventilation system. This is a critical call and it will mean whether we will make it through to the post coronavirus era or remain in lockdowns forever.
When transmission of virus is concerned, we have to talk about this guy called the 'Super Spreader' and he or she is definitly the guy that we should be weary about. Unfortunately, the guy does not normally show early symtoms and we have no way to identify them until when the whole thing flared up. Here is a Super Spreader Article that you should be reading. Meanwhile,
From another corner, a prestigious scientific panel told the White House Wednesday night that research shows coronavirus can be spread not just by sneezes or coughs, but also just by talking, or possibly even just breathing. "While the current (coronavirus) specific research is limited, the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing," according to the letter, written by Dr. Harvey Fineberg, chairman of a committee with the National Academy of Sciences. That sums it, we are not safe in any environment but we will need to be very careful when we enter an enclosed space; you never know where the virus lurks.
Open Space Air Conditioning – Intelligent Spot Air Conditioning System
We are now capable of bringing air conditioning to an open space or space that have provisions of allowing fresh air to enter the space. It also means that stale air (virus infested air) can be filtered (to kill off the virus) and then exhausted. The new system has two components. One of which is a redesigned air conditioner out let nozzle and the other is a redesigned ventilation system that caters to the new environment.
New ventilation system
New Intelligent Ventilation for Riverria Iskandar Malaysia Apartments to fight COVID-19
The new ventilation system will take into consideration the need to bring in fresh air either through a conventional window or an open door. The idea is to cool a particular space whilst taking into consideration of an entry of fresh air and an exhausting of stale air. Would it then be efficient for the air conditioning to take care of fresh air inflow and also the exhausting of already cooled stale air? It’s certainly not possible you may think because there will be a lot of leakages, yes? Well, that is where the new air conditioner outlet nozzle is designed to handle.
The new Industry 4.0 endowed Air Conditioner Outlet Nozzle
Designed from the ground up and patent pending, the new Air Conditioner Outlet Nozzle is built with intelligence as it is able to detect how many spaces and which spaces need to be cooled in real time basis. Thus it is capable of running with high efficiencies as it does not waste energy trying to cool spaces which have no people like ceilings and spaces that housed the furniture. And when the environment changes like having people going in and going out at the same time, it will use its intelligence to gauge in which direction it will cool; this being done by the fully articulated nozzles that can change its configuration to deliver maximum cooling with the least amount of energy. So even if you have openings like a window or an opening door when someone comes knocking in, the intelligent nozzle will reconfigured itself to train its cooling air to the new demanding conditions. In short, the new nozzle is intelligent and capable of detecting where the demand is and also determining how much to cool. All this is done automatically without having human inputs and when there is nobody in the room; it will automatically shut itself down and return to its standby mode. This new system is capable of a 60 percent reduction in fuel bill.