Oh, and they can make things worse
Covid precautions have turned many parts of our world into a giant salad bar, with plastic barriers separating sales clerks from shoppers, dividing customers at nail salons and shielding students from their classmates.
Intuition tells us a plastic shield would be protective against germs. But scientists who study aerosols, air flow and ventilation say that much of the time, the barriers don’t help and probably give people a false sense of security. And sometimes the barriers can make things worse.
Research suggests that in some instances, a barrier protecting a clerk behind a checkout counter may redirect the germs to another worker or customer. Rows of clear plastic shields, like those you might find in a nail salon or classroom, can also impede normal air flow and ventilation.
Under normal conditions in stores, classrooms and offices, exhaled breath particles disperse, carried by air currents and, depending on the ventilation system, are replaced by fresh air roughly every 15 to 30 minutes. But erecting plastic barriers can change air flow in a room, disrupt normal ventilation and create “dead zones,” where viral aerosol particles can build up and become highly concentrated. (snip)
But Covid-19 spreads largely through unseen aerosol particles. While there isn’t much real-world research on the impact of transparent barriers and the risk of disease, scientists in the United States and Britain have begun to study the issue, and the findings are not reassuring.
Well, let’s consider that when COVID hit there were lots of concerns, and we didn’t have answers, so people just tried anything. All the cleaning that occurred. Remember that? Some still do it. Yet, most studies show you will not catch COVID from surfaces. Locking people down didn’t really kill it, yet, governments still try this. Slapping up all these barriers seemed like a good idea at the time. Now we’re finding out different.
A study published in June and led by researchers from Johns Hopkins, for example, showed desk screens in classrooms were associated with an increased risk of coronavirus infection. In a Massachusetts school district, researchers found plexiglass dividers with side walls in the main office were impeding air flow. A study looking at schools in Georgia found that desk barriers had little effect on the spread of the coronavirus compared with ventilation improvements and masking.
It’s one of the main reasons why they say airplanes are safe despite zero distancing: air flow.
The article delves into many studies, including one from 2013, which, you would have thought the People In Charge would have known about. But, we should give them a bit of a break, since we should remember all the panic that was occurring in the early part of 2020. Of course, why aren’t they saying anything now? Heck, they barely mention the smart stuff: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, social distance, don’t touch people. They want masks, which also don’t work, just like barriers.
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