Scientists to C.D.C.: Set Air Standards for Workplaces Now
Nearly a year later, scientists showed that coronovirus can be inhabited by small droplets called aerosols that live indoors in stagnant air, with more than a dozen specialist Biden administrations to take immediate action to transmit the virus at high risk of the virus Are calling for Meatpacking plant and prison-like settings.
13 experts – including many who advised President Biden during the transition – urged the administration to mandate a combination of better ventilation such as masks and environmental measures to blunt the risks in various workplaces.
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new Guidelines for reopening schools, But quickly went through better ventilation as a precaution. It was only in July that the World Health Organization assumed that the virus could spread to crowded indoor locations, later into the air 239 experts publicly called On the organization to do this.
In a letter to the administration, scientists have provided detailed evidence supporting the air transmission of the virus. It has become even more necessary for the administration to take action, experts said, due to the slow vaccine rollout, the risk of more infectious variants of the virus already in the United States, and higher rates of Kovid-19 infection and recent The deaths occurred despite a drop in cases.
“It’s time to stop kittens around the fact that the virus is mostly transmitted through the air,” said Virginia Tech’s aerosols specialist Lynsey Mara.
“If we accept it properly, and get the right recommendations and guidance, then this is our chance to end the epidemic in the next six months,” she said. “If we don’t do it, it can pull off very well.”
This letter is Jeffrey D. on Monday. Was given to Zevers, who was the coordinator of the Kovid-19 response to the Biden administration; Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Wallensky; And Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The letter urged the CDC to recommend high-quality masks, such as the N95 respirator, to protect workers at high risk of infection. Currently, health care workers mostly rely on surgical masks, which are not effective against aerosol transmission of the virus.
Experts point out that many workers of the infection are people of color who have suffered an epidemic in the United States.
Mr. Biden has directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which sets workplace requirements Issue of Emergency Temporary Standards for Kovid-19With respect to ventilation and masks until 15 March.
David Michaels, an epidemiologist at George Washington University, said OSHA would only mandate standards that would be supported by the CDC’s guidance.
(Dr. Michaels led OSHA during the Obama administration; the agency has no permanent leader since he left.)
“Unless the CDC makes some changes, OSHA will have difficulty changing the recommendations, as must be consistent with the government’s understanding,” Dr. Michaels said. “And the CDC has always been seen as the lead agency for infectious disease.”
Public health agencies, including the WHO, have been slow to acknowledge the importance of aerosols in spreading coronaviruses. It was only in October that the CDC recognized the virus Sometimes it can be windy, After an esoteric sequence of events in which the description of how the spread of the virus appears on the agency’s website disappeared, then resurfaced two weeks later.
But the agency’s recommendations at the workplace did not reflect this change.
At the onset of the epidemic, the CDC stated that health care workers did not need N95 MPs, and could even wear bandanas to protect themselves. It also did not recommend face covering for the rest of the population.
The agency has since revised those recommendations. It recently recommended that people wear two masks or fit their surgical masks to protect against the virus.
“But they don’t talk about why you need a better fitting mask,” said Dr., an aerosol expert at the University of Maryland. Said Donald Milton. “They are acknowledging the importance of breathing in it and the path of transmission, and yet they do not explicitly state it in their various web pages.”
The agency recommends surgical masks for health care workers and states that N95 respirators are required only during medical procedures that produce aerosols, like some types of surgery.
But several studies have shown that health care workers, who have no direct contact with Kovid-19 patients, are also at greater risk of infection and should wear high-quality respirators, Dr. Said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at Belloway Hospital Center. New York and A Mr. Biden’s Advisor During the transition.
“The CDC has not adequately emphasized the risk of aerosol transmission,” Dr. The gounder said. “Unfortunately, concerns about supply continue the discussion.”
Many hospitals still expect their staff to use the N95 mask as recommended by the agency Reuse when supplies run out. But since there are masks No longer in short supplyDr. Gounder said the agency should change its recommendations.
“We really need to stop this reuse and refinement approach for N95s,” she said. “We’re a year into this, and that’s not really acceptable.”
Experts said hospitals, at least, have good ventilation so health care workers are protected in other ways. But in meatpacking plants, jails, buses or grocery stores, where employees are exposed to the virus for a long time, the C.D.C. Does not recommend High quality respirators, nor does it support elevation of ventilation.
“If you go to other workplaces, the idea that aerosol transmission is actually unknown,” Dr. Michaels said. In food processing plants, for example, a refrigerated environment and a lack of fresh air are ideal conditions for the virus to thrive. But the industry has not put in place safeguards to reduce the risk.
Instead employers took note of the CDC’s recommendations on physical disturbances and cleaning surfaces.
Dr. of Virginia Tech Marr said the recent emergence of more infectious variants makes the transmission of the virus an urgent requirement for the CDC. Now Germany, Austria and France Mandate N95 respirator Or other high quality masks in public transport and shops.
Dr. Mara was one of the experts who wrote to the WHO for acknowledgment of the airborne transmission last summer. He did not expect to be in the same situation again after so many months, he said: “It feels like Groundhog Day.”