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Coronavirus Explainers

Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: Are Air Conditioners Safe To Use During The COVID-19 Pandemic

NDTV speaks with doctors to know if Air Conditioners can spread the coronavirus

Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: Are Air Conditioners Safe To Use During The COVID-19 Pandemic
  • In India, as of April 27, 28,000 people have been infected with COVID-19
  • Of which, more than 800 people have succumbed to the disease
  • AC use is fine, but it should be avoided as much as possible: Doctors

New Delhi: Back in January, when the world initially got to know about the novel coronavirus and before the world got into lockdown mode, a family was dining at a restaurant in Guangzhou, in China. The family had come from Wuhan, which eventually became the epicentre of the global pandemic. One of the family members was carrying the virus unknowingly. A few days later, nine others who dined at the restaurant were tested positive for the virus. This case of the Chinese restaurant has been cited by experts in a research paper in China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that the virus travelled through the air conditioner duct at the restaurant and infected three families sitting in the vicinity of each other who never engaged with each other.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: Experts Guide On “How To Wash Hands Properly” And Why It Is So Crucial

As the pandemic spreads, more and more questions like these continue to be posed by people. NDTV speaks with doctors to know the truth about COVID-19 spreading through Air Conditioners.

Dr Soumik Goswami, Endocrinologist from Kolkata says,

Being in an environment with central air conditioning is not safe at all at this given point. There is a report from China that said that a restaurant central air conditioning led to the spread of the highly contagious infection. Knowing that it was the epicentre of the virus, these reports and researches play an important role. It is better to be safe at this time.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: Centre Tags 170 Districts As ‘Coronavirus Hotspots’, Here’s All You Need To Know

Talking about home air conditioners, Dr Goswami added,

The stand-alone ACs that we use in our homes is safe to use but if the suspected or the infected person is kept in quarantine in a room it is preferable to keep the person in a well-ventilated room and not use an air conditioner.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: Why Is A Lockdown Important?

Highlighting about the steps government has already taken to keep a check on the spread of the virus, Dr Anil Kumar Reddy, Senior Diabetologist said,

Government has already taken steps like lockdown and shutting of places like malls and cinema halls – places that make use of central air conditioning. At this point of time, it is simply better to keep the doors open and avoid the use of ACs as much as possible because if even one person is infected in the house, it will be a cause of concern for the rest of the family. Now the focus should be on life after lockdown and how the spread of the virus can be checked as once offices are open and life is back, use of central air conditioning will be done.

Also Read: COVID-19 Outbreak: Why Are Asymptomatic Patients, A Worry For India? Doctors Explain 

Explaining why it is a problem to use Air Conditioners at this time, Dr Vivek Nangia, Pulmonologist, Fortis Hospital said,

The problem with central air conditioners is that at the particular moment, this environment is risky and what happens is that in one room people are breathing in the same air, so if one person is infected, chances of others getting the infection are high as everyone is inhaling the same air.

Talking about ACs in the car, Oncologist Dr Dodul Mondal, from Apollo Hospital said,

Travelling with family members in a closed car space with AC on is safe but if even one person has a cough, viral or cold symptoms, avoid travelling for long hours. As in the closed space, the air will be the same which will be inhaled by every person, so chances of virus spreading are more if the person is infected and doesn’t know.

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