The faculty speaks with the students in a classroom with the windows open of an institute in Alcoy.Joaquín from haro
More than a year has passed since the start of the pandemic and throughout this time science has given us many tools to combat the coronavirus as evidence that indoors are far more dangerous than outdoors. Or the determining role of ventilation. But a group of more than 70 scientists and health workers believe that this knowledge is not used enough. "Despite the clarity of the scientific conclusions, the implementation of these measures is being extraordinarily slow, and many times it is carried out partially or incorrectly," they write in a letter addressed to the Spanish authorities, both central and regional, advanced by EL PAÍS .
The signatories of the letter emphasize the importance of combating contagions produced by breathing virus particles suspended in the air, one of the three possible routes of coronavirus infection recognized by science, along with direct contact with the droplets produced by an infected and contaminated surfaces ( less likely ). “Given the seriousness of the situation, we believe that it is urgent to take advantage of the available knowledge and promote from the administrations the necessary prevention measures to reduce the risk of contagion of COVID-19 by inhalation. We are convinced that the benefits will be enormous ”, they insist in the letter.
We believe that it is urgent to take advantage of the available knowledge and promote from the administrations the necessary prevention measures to reduce the risk of contagion of COVID-19 by inhalation
The text is signed by virologists such as Adolfo García Sastre (director of the Institute for Global Health and Emerging Pathogens), Antonio Alcamí and Margarita del Val (CBM-CSIC); health workers such as Julio Cobo (head of Emergencies at Hospital La Paz), Santiago Moreno (head of Infectious at the Ramón y Cajal University Hospital) and David Jiménez (head of Pulmonology at Ramón y Cajal Hospital); experts in Public Health such as Jeffrey Lazarus (ISGlobal), Ildefonso Hernández (former general director of Public Health) and Ignacio Rosell (secretary of the expert committee of Castilla y León); specialists in environmental health such as María Cruz Minguillón (IDAEA-CSIC), Luis Reynoso (president of the Spanish Association of Occupational Medicine Specialists), Isabel Marín Rodríguez (president of the Spanish Society for Environmental Health) Stella Moreno (president of the Spanish Association of Aerobiology), Xavier Querol (IDAEA-CSIC), Ismael Sánchez (president of the Association of Specialists in Prevention and Occupational Health); and other scientists such as Juan José Badiola (director of the Center for Emerging Communicable Diseases), the immunologist Alfredo Corell (University of Valladolid), the expert in fluid mechanics Javier Ballester (University of Zaragoza) and José Luis Jiménez, professor of Environmental Sciences of the University of Colorado.
These scientists propose a series of measures, centered on eight lines of action that must be put in place "as soon as possible." "We believe that there is still time to guarantee a generalized deployment of the available prevention measures," say the signatories. The letter focuses on the scientific evidence that indicates the important role that aerosols, those particles with viruses that remain in suspension and that can be breathed by another person, play in contagion. To combat this mode of infection, masks should be worn, physical distance maintained, and interior ventilated, but there are important aspects that are neither applied by the Spanish authorities nor explained in detail to the population so that they can protect themselves. The actions they demand focus on the use of masks, completely internalized by the population, but they point out gaps: the necessary withdrawal of those that do not serve, the need for them to be required in workplaces and raise awareness about the importance of incorrect placement by leaving too many gaps when adjusting them: "We estimate that the defects in the actual use of masks are reducing their effectiveness to less than half, which translates into a huge number of infections that could be avoided." Next, the letter demands that one of the most obvious measures (and that has been known for a year) be taken seriously: moving everything possible abroad, where there are twenty times less chances of contagion.
In addition, experts demand a greater incidence in indoor ventilation: that it be informed about it to remind the population that it must be done continuously. As a complement, they point to two technologies: on the one hand, they have CO₂ meters, which allow us to know if a place is adequately ventilated. On the other, various air cleaning technologies are available, "but there is confusion about their effectiveness, recommendations for use and possible risks", which the authorities should clarify. For this, it would be necessary to develop criteria, procedures and regulations. The experts also demand that special attention be paid to the needs of educational centers, due to their vulnerability. And finally, they call for the basic ideas about covid transmission and prevention measures to be effectively communicated. "It is essential that the population understand the logic of the rules that are dictated by the administration and be able to reason what is the ideal behavior in each situation," they explain, so that citizens are able to protect themselves by knowing how a situation occurs de Riesgo.
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