CAPE TOWN – Frontline health workers around the world have borne the brunt of the coronavirus crisis. Over 1.4 million infections of Covid-19, globally are accounted for by health workers, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In South Africa, about 24,000 health workers in South Africa have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic hit the country in March.
It is against this backdrop that a study from India has revealed that the current design of most of the ICUs, where the air is recirculated through the air-conditioning, is not suited for treating the highly infectious patients of Covid-19.
According to the study the current design of most ICU’s may be one of the causes of the thousands of infections among the healthcare workers.
“The recirculation of the air by the centralized air-conditioning systems is what has led to the significant infection of our committed medical fraternity and has also led to deaths of doctors and nurses,” said the study.
“Covid-19 patients in the ICU are active sources of the virus, and they are constantly expelling particles .So, if you are not filtering the air, it is making things worse,” Angarai Ganesan Ramakrishnan, the lead author of the study, told Reuters.
Previous studies have suggested countries in hot climates should take care that indoor rooms are not dried out by overcooling with air conditioning, noting that keeping indoor humidity levels between 40 percent and 60 percent will help limit airborne transmission of the virus.
“As people go indoors in hot weather and the rebreathed air fraction goes up, the risk of infection is quite dramatic,” said Edward Nardell, Harvard Medical School
For LIVE updates on the Coronavirus pandemic, follow us on Twitter: @sacoronamonitor