A recent Chinese study sent alarm bells ringing in India, after it forecast that the country would climb to 15,000 COVID positive cases a day by June 15. Even as the country has eased lockdown limits and allowed people movement, there’s a way to avoid this dire situation, according to air quality expert Mansoor Ali. He’s also the founder of AMFAH India, a company which deals in air treatment solutions.
“India’s COVID-19 strategy has till now, not focused on monitoring and maintaining humidity levels or air quality. The newly reopened workspaces, upcoming monsoons and public areas have led to high humidity levels across the country. Monitoring and maintaining these levels are the best way by which we can avoid such a situation”, he said.
To track humidity & indoor air quality, use devices like a hygrometer, air quality testing monitor or through city-based mobile apps dedicated to real-time air quality, advised Ali.
Why humidity? The World Health Organisation (WHO) has linked maintaining optimum temperature, indoor air quality and moisture to the spread of the coronaviruses, responsible for COVID-19. “Maintaining a balance of air quality at PM 2.5 and humidity levels between 40 to 60% RH will reduce and control the spread of the coronavirus”, vouched Ali as they deal with many health-related cases impacting various industries/sector during monsoon due to rising humidity in the past.
“After a four-month lockdown, people have resumed work at their workplaces, which may have poor air quality and humidity levels. Checking humidity levels with a hygrometer will allow you to ensure safety for all employees. I recommend this for restaurants, malls, salons and all establishments”, he added.
Ali has been highlighting the importance of temperature, humidity and air quality since early February and has been advocating that the spread of the coronavirus is affected by many factors including environmental issues impacting differently in the different regions in the world.
“International trends for COVID affected countries show that places with lower temperature have suffered the most. India has been lucky to fight the virus from early summer, aided by high temperatures and humidity levels. However, most places in India are now at the border levels of 60% RH levels, and the upcoming monsoons will only raise these levels higher. It’s time everyone understands the importance of humidity levels consciously and its impact, especially vulnerable spots in COVID-affected regions like Mumbai and coastal areas in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu”, he added.
“Stay conscious, track and address the local area real-time air quality and humidity with temperature along with other guidelines for self-protection. These steps, along with hand hygiene, social distancing and higher immunity, will keep you safe from COVID-19”, he vows.