As the coronavirus, or COVID-19, spreads throughout the world, all the best in medicine and science is coming together to fight it.
Companies like SensoScientific are using negative pressure and other technological innovations to make sure our doctors and nurses are safe in hospitals. Our medical workers are our front line in this pandemic. Their safety and ability to work are absolutely essential for all of us.
Read on to learn more about coronavirus and how we can keep each other safe.
What Is Coronavirus?
The word coronavirus actually belongs to a long list of sicknesses. The common cold is one coronavirus, and there are many others. The coronavirus we’ve all been hearing about is far more dangerous than most coronaviruses like the common cold.
The technical name for this coronavirus is COVID-19. The “co” in covid stands for corona and the “vi” stands for virus. The “d” stands for disease, and the 19 refers to 2019, the year that the virus first infected a human.
The “d” for disease is especially important because there’s a difference between the virus and the disease. The virus is a biological virus that can float in the air, land in a person, or sit in a petri dish. The disease is what the virus causes when it hijacks a person’s bodily functions.
The CDC and WHO are constantly updating their estimate of the IFR of COVID-19. IFR stands for Infection Fatality Rate. In other words, if 1000 people get COVID-19, how many of them die?
Some diseases kill almost everyone who gets them, so they have a very high IFR. Others, like the common cold, kill almost no one, so they have a very low IFR.
The current IFR estimates for COVID-19 are between 1% and 3.4%. That means that out of every 1000 people who catch it, 10 to 34 of them are likely to die, even with the best medical care.
But what happens if the hospitals are too full to give someone medical attention? In that case, that person might die even though they would have survived if treatment had been available for them. If the hospitals get full, then the IFR will go up.
How Coronavirus Spreads
It’s clear that getting COVID-19 is a very bad situation. So how do people get it? There are three main ways: surface transmission, airborne droplets, and airborne aerosols.
Surface transmission is when the coronavirus lands on a surface, and someone touches that surface. Once the virus is on your hands, it can easily end up on your face and infect you. The virus can live between 4 hours and 9 days on a surface, depending on what it’s made of.
Copper kills the virus the quickest, in 4 hours. Plastic, on the other hand, allows the virus to survive for up to 9 days in some cases. The virus can survive on other metals and surfaces for somewhere more than 4 hours and less than 9 days.
Coronavirus grows in the throats of people who are infected. On average, a person will be infected and contagious for 5 days before they show any symptoms.
Plus, many people, especially young people, will be infected but never show any symptoms at all. That means that anyone could be spreading the virus without even knowing about it.
When an infected person breathes, small water droplets can carry the virus through the air. These droplets are too small to see, but still heavy enough that they quickly fall down onto surfaces.
However, if someone else breathes in the droplets before they fall to the ground, they can catch the virus. This is why it’s important to stay 6 feet or more away from people to avoid breathing in their air.
The last way for the virus to transmit is through aerosol droplets. This is basically the same as airborne droplets, only aerosol droplets are much smaller.
Because they are so much smaller, aerosol droplets can float longer in the air, for as long as 3 hours. Aerosol droplets can be created when infected people cough or sneeze, or during intubation in the hospital.
Scientists don’t know yet how likely it is to catch the coronavirus through aerosol droplets. While they are in the air for 3 hours, that doesn’t mean that they will necessarily infect people very easily.
What Can We Do About Coronavirus?
Until we get a new vaccine, it’s important that we avoid transmitting the virus.
To avoid surface transmission, it’s important to wash surfaces and your hands, as well as avoid touching your face. To avoid airborne droplet transmission, it’s important to stay more than 6 feet away from people. To avoid aerosol air transmission, it may be necessary to stay completely out of the room of coughing or sneezing people, or use an N95 mask if you have to be in the room.
Stopping the Spread in Hospitals
Hospital workers are exposed to coronavirus much more than almost anyone else. It seems almost inevitable that they’ll contract it after day after day of exposure. However, techniques like negative pressure can keep them safe.
What Is Negative Pressure?
When two rooms have the same air pressure, there’s little airflow between them. However, if one room has lower air pressure than the other, it will suck up the air from adjacent rooms. This type of pressure is called negative pressure.
If someone is sick in a room with positive pressure, then all of their air could flow out into other rooms to get people sick. By keeping the infected in rooms with negative pressure, the airflow is always towards them, keeping any dangerous air inside the room. These negative pressure rooms are called isolation rooms.
Isolation rooms are designed to manage all three transmission routes at the same time.
Surface droplet transmission is managed by limiting the surfaces that patients come in contact with. Both airborne droplets and airborne aerosols are managed by negative pressure, which keeps any air from escaping from the isolation room.
The effectiveness of isolation rooms depends partially on how many people are kept inside them. An isolation room that works perfectly well for two sick people may not be able to handle ten sneezing patients.
Along with temperature monitoring, SensoScientific creates reliable pressure sensors. These pressure sensors measure the differential pressure between rooms.
This allows them to keep track of the flow of air between rooms and notify you if negative pressure is ever in jeopardy of failing. Their sensors enter a low power use mode between measurements to allow them to last as long as possible.
Do Your Part to Stop Coronavirus
We hope you learned something helpful about the coronavirus in this piece. To learn more about SensoScientific’s products for humidity, temperature, differential pressure, and more, check out our other pages.