Everyone knows that the coronavirus is transmitted in droplets expelled by coughing and sneezing. The droplets can quickly spread up to 6 feet and more. Indeed, the Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Lab at MIT concluded that, “given various combinations of an individual patients’ physiology and environmental conditions, such as humidity and temperature, the gas cloud and its payload of pathogen-bearing droplets of all sizes can travel 23 to 27 feet (7-8 m).” Furthermore, viruses can remain suspended in the air for hours.
That’s why we are keeping physical distance and wearing masks outdoors. The transmission can come from someone who is asymptomatic and totally unaware of being infected. This means we should use extreme caution, even within families staying at home in isolation, where air circulation is confined compared with the outdoors. Pandemic experts advise that the safest course is to behave as if everyone is infected.
Unfortunately, while coughing and sneezing help the virus travel farther, even talking is likely to transmit the virus. A May 2020 study used lasers to make it possible to see, and videotape, the results of talking. The study concluded that, “normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments.”
Here is where the technology of a high-density negative air ionizer may offer significant protection. It places an imperceptible charge on the gas cloud, or aerosol, including relatively large particles (like dust), smaller particles like bacteria and mold spores, and even tiny virus particles measuring as little as 0.052-0.140 micrometers. The charged particles fall to the floor, or are attracted to surfaces of grounded electronic devices (like computer screens), which can be wiped away during normal housecleaning. Subjectively, the air becomes more breathable and refreshing – and less hazardous to health.
A high-density ionizer contrasts with conventional home ionic air purifiers, where the ion output is sufficient only to trap larger particles, across limited distances. The more powerful units can gradually fill a large room with negative air ions and maintain stable ion density within about 30 minutes. Rooms at home—with doors, leaky windows, and electronic equipment—are more variable than the sealed lab testing chambers used to measure ionizer efficiency. Yet lab tests of high density negative air ions show an impact on contaminants of all sizes. A high, constant stream of ions is needed to prevent dissipation throughout a room in order to counteract viral loads in aerosols that may otherwise survive in the air circulation for hours and remain viable on surfaces for days.
While high-density ionization significantly reduces the chance of infection by breathing air that may harbor the virus, common sense dictates that everyone sharing a living space continue to wash hands frequently, avoid touching the face, and keep floors and surfaces clean using a sanitizer. A direct cough or sneeze will still pose a risk. If a family member is symptomatic, or is a known asymptomatic carrier, he or she should continue wearing a mask indoors.
CET recommends the Twin Air Pro 2 high-density ionizer, which can run continuously and silently, serving an interior space as large as 640 square feet (for example, living room with kitchen/dining area measuring 20 × 32 feet).
High-density negative air ionization offers the triple benefit of:
- creating the sensation of fresh air indoors
- lifting mood and mental sharpness
- removing infectious contaminants from the air circulation
For more information
For information about research on negative air ions
For information on how the coronavirus travels
Lab notes: Virus incubation and the search for vaccines
To buy an ionizer