SARS-CoV-2 — Mitigating COVID-19 through humidification

Mitigating the Coronavirus through Humidification

At low relative humidity, influenza retains maximal infectivity and inactivation of the virus at higher relative humidity occurs rapidly after coughing. Although virus carried on aerosol particles <4 µM have the potential for remaining suspended in air currents longer and traveling further distances than those on larger particles, their rapid inactivation at high humidity tempers this concern. Maintaining indoor relative humidity >40% will significantly reduce the infectivity of aerosolized virus. [emphasis, my own]

John D. Noti, Health Effects Laboratory Division, NIOSH office of the CDC

There are multiple indoor air quality factors that govern the mitigation of airborne pathogens like the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus.

This article emphasizes one factor: indoor relative humidity.

Dr. John D. Noti’s peer-reviewed scientific paper describes how high relative humidity deactivates the virus.

What does ‘deactivate the virus’ imply?

Frankly speaking, scientists have no solid explanations of the precise mechanism(s) by which relative humidity affects the virus, but they do agree that high relative humidity dramatically affects (diminishes, deactivates) the novel coronavirus. [NIH]

Humidifiers, like flowers, come in a variety of forms. My choice is the evaporative humidifier. The unit used in my home and office is the AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier, naturally available from Amazon.com. Download the user guide via the link below.

I do not recommend duct-mounted or steam humidifiers, a topic for another day.

Let’s not overlook those other viruses common to every household and place of business in America: influenza viruses, the common cold viruses, and MERS-CoV. All airborne viruses are beneficially affected as indicated on the 1985 ASHRAE chart shown above.

Subsequent articles

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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