An Interior Air Quality Threat:  Respiratory Illness on the Rise in the US  

A person presenting as a Black Woman or assigned-female-at-birth doctor is smiling and holding a tablet. A computer screen and modern office are in the background.

AirLens is being piloted right now to protect people’s health, and the timing couldn’t be better for the users of three buildings in the Portland (Oregon) Metro region. A CNN article published on Dec 16, 2022, the flu, RSV, and Covid-19 are on the rise in the US.

The article shares some key points:

  • The CDC reported almost 3000 deaths per week to Covid-19 in Dec.
  • Hospitals are preparing to be swamped with sick patients.
  • A change in behavior will reduce the spread of this “tripledemic”. Masking, vaccinations, and staying home when you don’t feel well will all help.
  • A booster is available for two new strains of Covid-19.
  • The Biden Administration has re-opened the For a limited time, US residents can order 4 free tests per household.

In addition to Covid-19, the Biden Administration is tracking indoor air quality, too. In March of this year, President Biden launched the “Clean Air in Buildings Challenge”. This effort, which comes with funding to states, “is a call to action for leaders and building owners and operators of all types to assess their indoor air quality and make ventilation and air filtration improvements to help keep occupants safe.“ (Look for more on this in future posts!)

What scientists have known for years, the world learned during the pre-vaccine days of Covid-19. Increased ventilation – moving air through a building – is an effective and proven way to reduce the spread of disease by air.

With AirLens, there won’t be a need to open doors and windows (but hopefully that’s always an choice). Building systems can be remotely checked and managed so that fresh and well-filtered air reduce the spread of flu, RSV, Covid-19 and more.

Right now, AirLens tracks the county’s outdoor air quality and community spread of Covid-19 where pilot projects are located. As engineers we know, modeling is not the same as measuring. That’s why we plan to partner with others to measure the actual real outcomes of those we serve.

The number of cases of those in buildings with AirLens compared against the national average could be an interesting early key performance indicator (KPI). Other KPIs could include asthma attack incidences, worker productivity, complaint rate, and days of school or work missed.

Regardless of how we encourage, model or measure it, wise ventilation plays a role in protecting people’s health and well-being.

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