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Coronavirus Concerns Evident, Subdued at AHR Expo

Feb. 11, 2020
Some attendees donned surgical masks, more used hand sanitizer, and Chinese exhibitors seemed fewer. But experts noted that proper HVAC operation actually may be the key to stemming the spread of the Chinese pandemic.

If you were a tad worried about attending AHR Expo this year for health reasons, you were not alone. Several attendees, mostly Asian, were spotted wearing surgical masks, hand sanitizer seemed more available, and the number of Chinese-based exhibitors appeared down somewhat. 

But according to some experts, our industry actually can help to quell public health fears. Kudos to HPAC Engineering columnist Larry Clark for alerting us to this Feb. 2nd post on LinkedIn by Dr. Stephanie Taylor, MD, MArch, FRSPH(UK), CABE, ASHRAE D.L.:

"Ten years ago we learned that viruses studied as surrogates for Coronavirus, the family of SARS and Wuhan, were INACTIVATED on surfaces when the ambient relative humidity (RH) was 40-60%. Conversely, when RH was either below 40% or above 60%, the viruses remained virulent and infectious. 

The opportunity to inactivate viruses in the air and on surfaces by maintaining this range of indoor humidity, which happens to also be the range best for human health, is Mother Nature’s gift to us. 

With the excellent indoor humidification systems available, skills of building professionals, scientific acumen of microbiologists and advances in medicine, the time has come for us to co-create indoor environments truly supportive of our health."