Over the years, the Cleaning and FM industries have invested heavily in products, services, and the distribution of infection control information regarding cleaning surfaces, whether this is for floors, washrooms, offices, or kitchens. The importance of clean surfaces in reducing the transmission of bacteria and viruses and keeping us all in good heath is a message that we all understand, but the recent pandemic has highlighted the importance of clean air as well as clean surfaces in our battle against the ongoing threat of airborne viral infections.
When it comes to COVID-19, the British Medical Journal said that the transmission of the virus through contaminated surfaces is now thought to be ‘minimal’. Therefore, our attention needs to turn to looking at ways to keep our air clean as well as our hard surfaces. Fighting airborne transmission is key to any future attempts to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 the BMJ concludes.
It is important to remember that keeping surfaces clean is still an extremely important function in preventing the spread of other viral infections or killing surface bacteria, which can be equally harmful, but when it comes to COVID-19, we need to reassess our priorities.
The international team of scientists who authored the editorial that appeared in the British Medical Journal have called for professionals that are responsible for the management of workplaces, washrooms, and healthcare facilities, as well as education providers, to pay far greater attention to the cleanliness of the air present in their buildings and workspaces.
Tackling the cleanliness of the air is not only a benefit and a weapon in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 but it has a direct impact on reducing absenteeism in the workplace, increasing productivity, and reducing costs as sick leave from a range of airborne respiratory infections is reduced.
The authors who wrote the article for the BMJ also added that less absenteeism, with its negative effect on productivity, could save organisations significant costs, which would offset the expense of upgrading their ventilation systems and investing in making the air cleaner for workers.
Experts believe that COVID-19 will now become another seasonal infection that we will grow to live with as we do with winter flu, so governments around the world and influential health leaders should heed the scientific advice and focus their efforts on airborne transmission, ventilation and cleaning the air in addition to focusing on cleaning communal areas, washrooms, and hard surfaces.