USA: In an update to its guidance, ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force has stated that the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is “significant” and should be controlled.
The unequivocal statement on the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in buildings advises that changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.
This latest statement replaces the April 2020 announcement that said airborne transmission was “sufficiently likely” and that airborne precautions should be taken.
ASHRAE explains that at that time both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), contended that transmission of SARS-CoV2 was by droplet and fomite modes, not airborne. Subsequently, both have acknowledged the risk of airborne transmission indoors.
“This may seem like a small step, but we feel it is important to leave no doubt about our position, given the muted support for ventilation and filtration as important tools in the effort to stop the pandemic, from some organisations that should be leading more strongly,” said William P Bahnfleth, the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force chair.
The complete airborne transmission statement and other ASHRAE COVID-19 resources can be found here.