Yesterday Governor Cuomo said he was shocked that 66% of new hospital admissions due to Covid-19 are from people staying at home.
The likely reason is the shared air in apartment buildings – HVAC and/or bathroom vents. Elevators could be another reason.
Earlier today we shared the fact that the CDC has shown air conditioning systems spread coronavirus. At least short distances – from a table in a restaurant to a few tables away.
Although the CDC report didn’t specify whether the virus can be spread throughout a building via shared ventilation or HVAC systems, it would make sense to assume this is the case.
Obviously the construction of the building dictates the level of shared ventilation. The fact that low-income areas, where more minorities live, have more infections, could have to do with not only smaller apartment sizes but also more shared air/ventilation. Smaller apartments and closer proximity would likely increase the viral load a person is exposed to. This, in turn, would increase the likely hood of becoming ill.
This is the reason a person who is shedding a great deal of virus can become a super-spreader of this disease. It is also why a healthy person can become ill from Covid-19, even in a hospital, wearing protective gear. The sheer amount of virus near infected patients could overwhelm the body’s immune response if inhaled in a short time period.
In short, we need to start telling people in apartment buildings to wear masks all the time. As uncomfortable as that sounds. In the short term, it is the best way to keep them from getting infected.
Over time, filtration and air purification systems need to be installed to minimize the chance of apartments spreading the disease.