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Old 02-13-2020, 02:46 PM
Settimo is offline
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Why not raise building temperature and humidity to stop coronavirus spread?


If virions have trouble surviving north of 85 degrees Fahrenheit, then why not just raise the indoor temperature of buildings to that temperature, and possibly add humidification to reduce the coronavirus / Covid-19 spread? Link to an article on this idea.
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Old 02-13-2020, 03:09 PM
Banksiaman is offline
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The study, by an air-conditioning and humidification company, found that air-conditioning and humidification may have an effect*. It could well be true, but I'm guessing that its main effect will be on the viability of virus particles transmitted by sneezing that have settled on surfaces. It won't address someone coughing in your face or close contact. Not sure if the recommended temperature would also make you sweat or shed precious bodily fluids more as well.

If you were constructing and managing an environment aiming to minimise unnecessary infection risks it seems like something to look at. You might just employ some people to wipe down common surfaces like hand-rails and door knobs. I'm sure the relevant study from the alcoholic wipe and door-knob spray industry is not too far off.

* Probably the only sage advice my father ever offered is 'Never ask a barber if you need a haircut'.
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:08 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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Making the air inside a bunch of buildings hot and humid is going to cause all sorts of problems. For one, people are uncomfortable at those temperatures. You're also going to get condensation in colder areas and probably lots of mold growth.
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:18 PM
Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
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The virus survives quite well inside a human body, at 98.6F. All too well, in many cases.

So raising the room temp above 85F would be too hot for most human bodies, which seem to be most comfortable around 70-75F. So the body would expend more effort in trying to cool itself, thus putting more stress on it, and making it more susceptible to a virus. Seems self-defeating. [But not for a business selling heating & humidification equipment.]
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:34 PM
bengangmo is offline
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Not to mention all the other bugs that are going to love a hot and humid environment.
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:39 PM
Kimera757 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Settimo View Post
If virions have trouble surviving north of 85 degrees Fahrenheit, then why not just raise the indoor temperature of buildings to that temperature, and possibly add humidification to reduce the coronavirus / Covid-19 spread? Link to an article on this idea.
Wouldn't that cause some other diseases to spread faster?
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Old 02-13-2020, 05:05 PM
Great Antibob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimera757 View Post
Wouldn't that cause some other diseases to spread faster?
Indeed so.

This "solution" is of the invasive species variety. Bringing in a new invasive species to take care of a previously introduced invasive species brings its own set of problems.

Also, I'm a little iffy on the economic, engineering, and ecologic cost of heating that much space or if it's even possible.
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Old 02-13-2020, 05:27 PM
Settimo is offline
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Hmm. I do see now the cited article was done by a company that no less produces humidification products(!) Looking a little more, I see this is somewhat complicated.

Viruses with lipid envelopes (coronoviruses included) tend to survive longer at low relative humdities (RH).

One study:
Quote:
In this study, we showed that high temperature at high relative humidity has a synergistic effect on inactivation of SARS CoV viability while lower temperatures and low humidity support prolonged survival of virus on contaminated surfaces. The environmental conditions of countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand are thus not conducive to the prolonged survival of the virus. In countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong where there is a intensive use of air-conditioning, transmission largely occurred in well-air-conditioned environments such as hospitals or hotels.
Another study:
Quote:
SARS disappeared in the northern summer of 2003 and has not reappeared significantly since. This seasonality of influenza and other respiratory viruses in temperate countries is thought to be related to factors that affect infectiousness (person to person spread) such as the dryness of the air, ambient air temperature and possibly ultraviolet solar radiation. Human factors may also contribute to the spread of influenza during the colder winters since more time may be spent indoors, presumably in closer contact with other persons.
This study is more cautious:
Quote:
...for example, although high temperatures (more than 30C) at relatively high RH (greater than 50%) may reduce the survival of airborne influenza virus, the tolerance of people coexisting in such conditions will also need to be considered.
As far as discomfort, mold, and other factors, these have to be weighed against a 2% death rate, a huge negative impact on a national economy, and a potential pandemic.
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Old 02-13-2020, 05:51 PM
DinoR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Settimo View Post
If virions have trouble surviving north of 85 degrees Fahrenheit, then why not just raise the indoor temperature of buildings to that temperature, and possibly add humidification to reduce the coronavirus / Covid-19 spread? Link to an article on this idea.
This coronavirus doesn't seem to be that deadly among younger adults in good shape. So the threat is death has quite a bit of overlap with those who are older or have other health issues that make them more susceptible to heat injuries and related deaths. Combining higher heat with higher humidity that makes natural cooling less effective is probably going to cause serious health issues and deaths. I would want an estimate comparing deaths from the 'solution' to the deaths it prevents before I assume there is a net benefit. Maybe this makes sense. Maybe it doesn't.

Sometimes the cure really is worse than the disease.
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