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COVID-19 an airborne intruder

Not coming in, or going out, or transmitted among folks

What home security measures block COVID-19?

What if the “criminal” you want to stop is not a person? What if the criminal is a potentially fatal virus? You beloved home should be protected against all unwelcome intruders, including an airborne intruder.

By now, we have all received and education in how “the virus” hitches a ride on objects, inside people, and even with molecules in the air we breathe.

Let’s go down the list and think of ways to stop this particular “bad guy” in his tracks.

Airborne intruder at the front door

  • On the person; hands
  • On the person; clothing
  • On the person; breath

photo of hand sanitizer - Holder's Total Security, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Keeping hands clean

In addition to visitors sanitizing their hands before entry, the door and door handles themselves should be cleaned daily.

Hitchhikers on clothing (and shoes)

Well, it’s just not practical to clean clothing at the door. But, most people won’t mind if asked to take off their shoes and place them in a designated spot. This is in fact a very common custom in many places around the world.

Filtering breath

Visitors should wear a mask. Masks are simple and effective, and they now come in a variety of prices and styles. They can be quickly put on or removed and are easy to store.

How well do face masks protect against coronavirus? Masks have been proven very effective, not only preventing getting a virus from someone else, but also preventing a person from spreading the virus.

photo of forehead thermometer at Amazon - Holder's Total Security, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Temperature checking for the airborne intruder

Although somewhat expensive, no-contact thermometers have become widely available.

Transmitted by air; think about it …

McKinsey & Company published a detail article about this …

One step that technicians could take involves configuring ducted HVAC systems to increase the rate of exchange with fresh fresh air from outside the building to reduce recirculation. Adjusting the settings may also help. Instead of shutting down overnight or on weekends, for instance, the HVAC system could run without interruption to increase the replacement of air and minimize airflow speeds.

McKinsey & Company recommends that HVAC technicians consider upgrading hardware to stop the airborne intruder. Some of the most important might include:

  • … replacing fixed-speed fan motors with variable-speed ones to enhance the control of airflow and allow for a minimum setting that produces lower speed airflow
  • … introducing sophisticated airflow-control systems, such as those that are sensitive to pressure, to allow for smoother adjustment of airflows
  • … installing high-performance air-purification systems; Filtration is the most common and typically the most effective method for HVAC systems. Other technologies, including irradiation and thermal sterilization, inactivate biological particles in the air without removing them. HVAC systems can also incorporate ionic purifiers, ozone generators, and other devices for cleaning air.”

Link to full article at mckinsey.com (new tab/window)

image of safety measures property of Centers for Disease Control and prevention

Risk of airborne intruder doesn’t stop at the door

“Home is both a haven and a hot spot of transmission. The challenge will be to distance ourselves physically but not emotionally.”—Helena Fitzgerald, “Coronavirus Risk Doesn’t Stop at Your Front Door”, The Atlantic, March 15, 2020

Household preventive measures recommended by the CDC include:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other people.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wear a mask when you go out in public.
    • Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Children: Notify your child’s school or daycare if your child becomes sick with COVID-19.
  • Take care of the emotional health of your household members, including yourself.
  • Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household.
  •  —Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

What is the likelihood of harm?

Strange as it seems, our perception of danger is not aligned with statistics! Example: Fear of flying is common, but far more people are injured in auto or truck accidents every day.

Here in Tulsa County, as of March 4, 2021, the entire county as rated “Extremely high risk.” (CDC map) That means average daily cases is 142 (22 per 100,000).

Let’s look at CDC research on the relative dangers of getting infected with COVID-19:

Higher risk: A close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19.

High risk: Large groups of people inside, such as events or restaurants.

Intermediate risk: A-History of being in an area with ongoing community transmission. (Individual risk level may vary if the individual fully practiced personal protective measures e.g., social distancing; use of facemasks; handwashing; if traveler is a health care worker, use of recommended personal protective equipment during patient interactions).   B-History of attending a mass gathering or large social gathering such as a wedding or funeral.

Lower risk: History of being in an area with no ongoing community transmission. Negative molecular (RT-PCR) or antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) within a timeframe before departure defined by the receiving country or upon arrival and individual meets no other criteria in other risk categories.

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Image of virus by CDC from Pexels
Photo of sanitizer by Anna Shvets on Pixabay
Photo of thermometer copyright by Amazon.com