In what is a revelation of the most shocking nature, the researchers working on the restaurant case in China have concluded that the main culprit was the air conditioning system installed in the premises.
However, unbelievable that may seem, that is the truth. It was published as a letter on the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention website by the researchers. The spread that happened somewhere in early January had targeted 9 people. An infected person was sitting in the vicinity.
The incident that took place at a restaurant in Guangzhou, China, involved as many as 3 families. The place that was a 5-floor building without windows was fully air-conditioned. At a nearby table, a person who was infected with the coronavirus had been sitting and having lunch. As per reports, the said person was asymptomatic, meaning he showed no symptoms of carrying the disease.
The researchers are of the view that viral particles most probably got caught in an air draft from the air conditioner. The dining area on the third floor occupied 145 m2, and every floor had its air conditioner. Thus, it was the air draft emanating from the air conditioner that caused the infectious particles to travel farther than normal. That raises serious concerns about the airflow systems installed in buildings in general.
One of the families had also traveled from Wuhan, Hubei Province, to Guangzhou, China. The researchers conducted a detailed investigation that sought to link these 10 cases together. Though those 9 people caught the disease, there were 73 more of them who did not get the disease. These people had been spotted and recognized. After that, they were quarantined. These men and women were also monitored all the time.
Thus, it was finally concluded that they had not caught the virus as of then. In all probability, the same could even be a rare occurrence with a start at all. As per the researcher Dr. Feyr, “Even in other places that have air conditioning this may not have happened. So this maybe 1 in 100, 1 in 1,000 places that had this happen.
The revelations pose a serious concern. As people are working in closed buildings and premises that have a central air conditioning system, the potential threat just multiplies. Given that most public transit systems, including trains, flights have air condition, people travelling by them are exposed to much greater risk.
Even at our regular residence, as suburbs grow more and more urbanized, a proper system for ventilation is lacking. It is again very problematic since then it means that the air is not getting enough space to be circulated. Such a blockage in air circulation can be extremely detrimental.
The research letter was fructified by Jianyun Lu1, Jeni Gu1, Kuibiao Li1, Conghui Xu1, Wenzhe Su, Zhisheng Lai, Deqian Zhou, Chao Yu, Bin Xu, and Zhicong Yang. The findings, though reflect one rare occurrence, cannot be sidelined. Greater thinking and deliberation should be carried out to affirm whether the air condition could be regulated.