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calendar   Thursday - July 02, 2020

The MERV Of Them!

Next Reopening Stumbling Block Will Be Indoor Air Quality

ONE instance in China where an air conditioner is suspected of spreading COVID by blowing droplets around. One. The thesis was not tested or replicated in a lab, but it seems to make a bit of sense. So let the panic and the kneejerk and the political weaponization ensue. Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of Dem. We must all live in a sanitized bubble from now on, or else we’ll die. Riiight.




Cuomo says malls may need to improve air filtration before they can open

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo contended Friday that ventilation systems in malls and theaters could spread the coronavirus, an assertion immediately disputed by the largest operator of shopping plazas in upstate New York.

Pyramid Management Group, in a statement responding to Cuomo, said, “There is no documented link between HVAC systems and the spread of COVID-19 in malls.”
...
Cuomo said the state is trying to determine if there are any ventilation filters on the market that can trap the coronavirus.
...
Other venues with HVAC systems that have remained open or have reopened at reduced capacity include office buildings, subway stations and retail stores outside of malls. Schools were closed in March, though the reason given was concern over the density of people in classrooms, not ventilation issues.

Pyramid said it has been working with HVAC technicians to increase fresh air flow into the buildings it manages and install new filters. The company said it has complied with all guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control, a federal agency, as well as by the state government led by Cuomo.

“This week, we have spoken with dozens of HVAC companies who have shared that Pyramid has done considerably more than other businesses that they represent who are open,” Pyramid said.
...
Cuomo said the state Department of Health, led by Dr. Howard Zucker, is overseeing the effort to determine if there is a filtration system available to remove the virus from air circulation.

As for gyms, Cuomo said he is concerned that people could exhale the virus into the air while vigorously exercising.


This sort of reminds me of the old Beatles song Taxman; government controlling every aspect of your life right down to the air you breathe, through taxation and regulation.
If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet


Pushed just a tiny bit further, this is a Catch-22 hurdle put in the way of businesses. Not only would an effective HVAC mitigation be very expensive to install and maintain, not one of them exists that is Officially Approved to capture or kill this specific virus. That seal of approval will take years and cost millions. And what are businesses and offices to do in the meantime?


~~~


I saw this coming a couple months ago and posted about it. While dining and working in the great outdoors is probably the best and least expensive solution, the whole point of civilization is to get as far away from nature as possible. Away from the wind and rain and bugs and dirt and cold. That’s what indoors is all about.

Yes, there are possible solutions. HEPA filters are kind of like the N95 masks of the HVAC world. They do a pretty good job, but they cost more and usually require a stronger ventilating system. It takes stronger fans to pull the same amount of air through a tighter filter. How do you know it’s a “good” filter? That’s where MERV comes in. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value and is a metric for filtration effectiveness. A MERV rating below 13 isn’t going to do the anti-viral job. HEPA filters are generally in the MERV 17 - 20 range.

There are also air washing systems to which disinfectants could be added. Humidity control plays a significant role here. Electrostatic precipitation filters may also be effective, and adding a significant amount of UV-C lights inside the HVAC system may kill enough germs and viruses to make a difference. Airflow itself is a factor; a vertical air path, bottom to top, will strongly mitigate lateral droplet movement, the issue that all this social distancing and mask wearing is all about. But almost no buildings are designed for vertical air movement. You’d be living on a fan screen with a ceiling made of vacuum cleaners, and a high volume of airflow would have Marilyn Monroe effects.

image

results of vertical air channels

OTOH, you’d smell the pleasing aromas of your food more easily, although it would get cold quickly. Which could encourage you to eat fast and get out, which limits your virus exposure and gives the restaurants a higher turnover rate (assuming more customers are in the queue). Win win? Or suck suck?

Most recently, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all large malls in New York will have to install “air filtration systems that can filter out the COVID virus” before reopening.

This requirement comes as infectious disease experts start more aggressively studying the ways in which the virus can spread through inhaling small particles that could hang around in the air for hours—otherwise known as aerosolized particles.
...
This risk of infection through these small particles is especially high in small enclosed spaces like offices, and restaurants, where the air is not being circulated as often and many people are spending prolonged, direct contact with one another. Experts agree that efficient ventilation may likely be an important part in safely resuming indoor activities.

“Obviously cleaning surfaces is still important but cleaning the air that recirculates through buildings is now a huge focus,” according to Nancy McClellan, an industrial hygiene specialist.

Effective ventilation can clean the air through recirculation while filtering out small, potentially infectious particles. Experts are also evaluating special technologies that can disinfect incoming viral particles, like UV light.
...
The performance of a filter is characterized by its Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, otherwise known as MERV rating. On the MERV rating scale, HEPA filters are rated anywhere between 17-19.

“The higher the MERV rating the more efficient and effective that filter is,” said Krause.
...
Most HVACs found in homes or small workplaces, however, cannot accommodate these fine HEPA filters, since they do not have motors that can produce a strong enough pressure to pull air and push it through a HEPA filter. Krause said some HVACs may be able to
accommodate a filter with a MERV rating of up to 13 but that still would not achieve the necessary number of air changes per hour that would effectively reduce the viral particles in the air.

Health experts agree that indoor spaces are higher risk than outdoor spaces when it comes to the virus’ spread, which is another reason New Jersey has paused indoor dining, Murphy said. Health experts specifically warn that dining indoors, where there’s less air flow, can be a higher risk since people can’t wear face coverings when they eat.

“We know that this virus moves differently indoors than out, making it even more deadly. We have seen spikes in other states driven in part by the return of patrons to indoor dining establishments where they are seated and without face coverings for significant periods of time,” [ NJ Governor ] Murphy said.

More info on air filtration can be found here.

All of this is ramped up even further by the risk-free utopian world people have come to expect over the past couple of decades. They are just going to have to accept some reality. Indoor businesses will do what they can, but the cost has to be taken into consideration. Or you can go live outside in the dirt, roasting in the summer, freezing in the winter, sharing your food with every insect and critter that comes along. In other words, go back to being a caveman. Which would make the greenies very happy, so no thanks.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/02/2020 at 08:05 AM   
Filed Under: • pandemic and epidemic diseasesThe New Normal •  
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