Indoor ventilation key to COVID-19 safety this winter, experts say

[Reporter] No one wants another COVID winter,  but it’s coming and doctors say this one will   be trickier. Not everyone is vaccinated, delta  is far more contagious than the original virus   and indoor air is riskier than  anyone had thought last winter. This whole pandemic has turned  aerosol science on its head.

[Reporter] Scientists say people can release  tiny infected particles while talking or just   breathing. They can travel farther than two metres  and linger in the air for hours. Good ventilation   can suck them out, however it’s hard to know if  a space is well ventilated, but there are clues.

Jeffrey Siegel is an air quality expert,   he’s been monitoring the carbon dioxide  that people exhale in various spaces. And you can see as people come into the office  in the morning, there’s these big spikes. [Reporter] The gas builds up in indoor  spaces that are not well ventilated,   those steep drops are key.

That tells us what the ventilation system  is doing to remove the carbon dioxide and   the other things that people  are breathing out in the space. [Reporter] Things like the virus, the U.S.  CDC notes one potential target benchmark for  

Good ventilation is carbon dioxide readings below  800 parts per million. Out here in the fresh air,   the carbon detector is in the 300s because  it’s fresh air, but as we go inside, it’ll   pick up more carbon as more people are breathing  which means there could be more virus in the air.

Not scientific, but we took a carbon dioxide  monitor for a subway ride in Toronto.   It climbed to over 700 with few riders on board.  Small busy restaurants can hit well over eight.   We also checked out the entry gate to  Scotiabank Arena ahead of a Leafs game,   over 700, but still well ventilated.

[Dr. Gupta] The biggest risk is probably  not when you’re sitting in the seat,   it’s when you’re lining up for the  concession stand or for the bathroom   where you’re jammed onto an escalator  like those are the highest risk spaces. Closed crowded spaces remain the riskiest  infection spots. Experts say when we move  

Indoors, we need layers of protection along  with ventilation. We know that vaccines,   masks and physical distancing can prevent  the spread of this virus. In Europe,   another wave of COVID cases and deaths is now  surging, largely fueled by low vaccination rates,   dropped measures and pandemic fatigue. Experts  insist as seasons change, immunity from vaccines  

Could wane and hard lessons learned should not  be forgotten. Christine Birak, CBC News, Toronto.

With another COVID-19 winter around the corner, experts are reminding people that ventilation can make indoor spaces safer, particularly when combined with distancing, masks and vaccinations.

#COVID19 #Ventilation #COVIDWinter

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