White House Discusses Science Behind Clean Indoor Air 

March 30, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
White House Discusses Science Behind Clean Indoor Air 
CBRE Hana coworking operation in Dallas. (Brian Elledge/Dallas Morning News/TNS)

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy held an event on Tuesday to discuss the science behind clean indoor air and why Americans should care.

Since May 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised the main way COVID-19 spreads is through air particles containing the infectious virus.

“Alongside vaccines, masks and other forms of protection, clean air can be a powerful multiplier,” said Alondra Nelson, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

“Having five air changes per hour can reduce transmission risk by 50% or more per hour,” continued Nelson.

Policy efforts from the Biden-Harris administration to improve ventilation in places like airports and schools were delayed by a lack of scientific evidence and confusion from the scientific community in the early stages of the pandemic as to how the virus spread. 

“Sociologically speaking, once you admit the respiratory disease is airborne there is a collective responsibility to treat it the way we treat sanitation,” said Dr. Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, during the White House event. 

According to Tufekci, improving indoor air quality through “government investment in infrastructure … can help lower disease burden overall.”

Nearly $122 billion was provided to schools through American Rescue Plan funds to improve ventilation, and $350 billion in state and local fiscal recovery funds were provided to support clean air for tribes. 

The bipartisan infrastructure law also provided investments for improving clean air for transportation, such as $5 billion to modernize and rebuild airport terminals. 

Alexa can be reached at [email protected]

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