The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has released an updated and unequivocal statement on the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in buildings.
“Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is significant and should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures,” said ASHRAE.
ASHRAE had previously released a statement a year ago, in April 2020, which said that airborne transmission was “sufficiently likely” to require airborne precautions. At that time, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) contended that transmission of SARS-CoV2 was by droplet and fomite modes, not airborne. Subsequently, both organizations have acknowledged the risk of airborne transmission indoors.
“This may seem like a small step, but we feel it is important to leave no doubt about our position, given the muted support for ventilation and filtration as important tools in the effort to stop the pandemic, from some organizations that should be leading more strongly,” said William P. Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E., ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force chair.
The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has been developing and disseminating guidance for the control of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 since its formation in March 2020.
“ASHRAE volunteers have played a huge role in evaluating evidence and developing detailed guidance to improve indoor environmental quality,” said Bahnfleth. “The public, globally, is benefitting from the volunteer efforts of some of the most knowledgeable scientists and engineers in our field and this updated guidance is proof of it.”
Founded in 1894, ASHRAE is a global professional society committed to serving humanity by advancing the arts and sciences of heating ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, and their allied fields.
ASHRAE and its members is dedicated to promoting a healthy and sustainable built environment for all, through strategic partnerships with organizations in the HVAC&R community and across related industries.
The Society is showcasing integrated building solutions and sustainability in action through the opening of the ASHRAE Global Headquarters building in metro Atlanta, Georgia. The state-of-the-art, high-performing net-zero-energy efficient global headquarters building is a destination venue for industry representatives, visiting from around the world, who are looking to experience cutting-edge engineering and architectural interventions.