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Could air conditioning help spread COVID-19?

CDC study: Air conditioning at restaurant contributed to as many as 8 others catching COVID-19
Posted at 5:58 AM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 09:42:49-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas is in the middle of a heatwave and the scorching temperatures are forcing some people indoors.

As a result, there are concerns that air conditioning could help COVID-19 spread. Some research suggests there’s a risk that air conditioning units could create a strong enough air current to move virus-containing droplets around a room.

RELATED: Air conditioning could be spreading COVID-19, according to Harvard epidemiologist

In January in China, a person with the virus infected five other people sitting at neighboring tables.

Scientists claim the outbreak was caused by strong air currents from the air conditioning unit. They also point out that the restaurant was poorly ventilated.

Las Vegas Dr. Neil Gokal is the medical director of clinical education at Southwest Medical Associates. He says air conditioning is a necessity right now because heat can kill too.

RELATED: Record-breaking high temperatures continue in Las Vegas

“It’s important to recognize that those [outbreaks] happened in a public crowded place, which is the reason we’ve had many recommendations to distance ourselves whenever possible," Dr. Gokal pointed out.

"And when not possible," he added, "[it's recommended] to at least make sure we’re wearing masks to be protecting ourselves."

To help a room’s ventilation, you can open the doors and windows and turn on the fan ode a few hours before and after visitors.

For taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers, experts suggest turning your car air conditioning re-circulation off to try to get more fresh air in the vehicle.