October 12, 2020
In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the complexity of determining indoor “safe spaces” as businesses seek to begin holding in-person meetings. Read more here.
Global cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 37 million with over 1 million deaths. On Friday, the World Health Organization announced a new daily record high in coronavirus cases confirmed worldwide with more than 350,000 infections reported to the U.N. health agency.
A recent study exploring the “[e]fficacy of face masks, neck gaiters and face shields for reducing the expulsion of simulated cough-generated aerosols,” funded by CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), found that “face masks and neck gaiters are preferable to face shields as source control devices for cough aerosols.” It should also be noted that the material and number of layers used plays an important role in efficacy. Read the article here.
A recent Packer article summarizes FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas’ exploration of Lessons learned from COVID-19. Yiannas, who spoke at the United Fresh Produce Association Washington Conference in September said, “We passed the test” in that “federal rules were adjusted to allow food normally sent to foodservice establishments to be sold at retail grocery stores.” Such “regulatory flexibility” is needed to foster increasing supply chain resilience. Additionally, technology is imperative in solving business challenges, as “digitalization has equated to speed and flexibility.” He also highlighted the increasing “importance of ongoing public-private partnerships,” especially in times of crisis.
The final report for “Remdesivir for the Treatment of COVID-19” found that “remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults who were hospitalized with Covid-19 and had evidence of lower respiratory tract infection”.
In Case You Missed It:
Last Friday, we discussed the increasing COVID-19 trends in the EU and what this may predict for the U.S. Read more here.
As Hurricane Delta bore down on the Gulf Coast, CDC updated its Natural Disasters page to account for COVID-19 with reminders and resources for preparing for emergency situations, seeking public disaster shelters, and staying safe. Check the list here.
The largest study on COVID-19 presentation in pregnant women reveals that “COVID-19 has a prolonged and nonspecific disease course during pregnancy” and symptoms can last up to 8 or more weeks.
Recommendations for Industry
What Constitutes a COVID-19 Indoor “Safe Space”?
Q. We’d like to start having meetings in our building, but we want to continue to protect our employees from COVID-19. Is there a simple way to calculate how many people we can have in a room?
A. Unfortunately, there is no simple formula for this. Although it may seem that one could assign an equation of x number of people per cubic foot, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration. Every space is different, which creates a complexity making a simple calculation impossible.
Some of the factors that need to be considered include the size of the room, placement and type of filtration in the room or space, airflow, ability to bring in outside air, use of UV, or other air purification technologies, overall ventilation, etc. (For more information on building readiness (and its complexity) from ASHRAE, see its COVID-19 pages including Review Spaces Inside the Building and HVAC Systems.) Because of this, TAG also stresses the importance of maintaining other worker protections including masks, six-foot distancing, and regular surface cleaning.
Questions on indoor safe spaces also have been accelerated with CDC’s recent publication of a Scientific Brief noting that “The principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying the infectious virus.” While CDC states that COVID-19 is generally spread through close contact rather than airborne transmission, the agency adds that circumstances under which airborne transmission of appears to have occurred include:
Enclosed spaces within which an infectious person either exposed susceptible people at the same time or to which susceptible people were exposed shortly after the infectious person had left the space.
Prolonged exposure to respiratory particles, often generated with expiratory exertion (e.g., shouting, singing, exercising) that increased the concentration of suspended respiratory droplets in the air space.
Inadequate ventilation or air handling that allowed a build-up of suspended small respiratory droplets and particles.
If you need assistance analyzing your building readiness and factors to be considered, contact TAG today!
As of October 12, 2020 (12:18 ET), there are over >3,606,333 cases (>1,078,097 deaths) worldwide.
Due to the increasing number of cases in the United States, TAG will move from reporting counts per country to focus on the United States, please see here for the data. For further information regarding worldwide numbers, please refer to John Hopkin University’s aggregate map.
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