Why Can Anti-Covid Plastic Barriers Be Made in Classrooms and Restaurants?


Most researchers say screens are most likely helpful in very specific situations. For example, a bus driver who is protected from the public by a floor-to-ceiling barrier is likely protected from breathing in much of what passengers breathe. A bank cashier behind a glass wall or an officer checking patients in a doctor’s office may be at least partially protected by a barrier.

A study by researchers He tested different sizes of clear barriers in an isolation room using a cough simulator with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that under the right conditions, taller shields above “cough height” prevented about 70 percent of particles from reaching the particle counter on the other side. store or salon employee sitting or standing.

But the study’s authors noted the limitations of the research, particularly that the experiment was conducted under highly controlled conditions. The experiment took place in an isolation room with consistent ventilation rates that “do not accurately reflect all real-world situations,” the report said.

The study didn’t take into account that employees and customers were walking around, that other people could inhale re-directed particles in the room, and that many stores and classrooms have several stations with acrylic barriers, not just one, that block normal airflow.

While more research is needed to determine the effect of adding clear shields around school or office desks, all aerosol experts interviewed agreed that desk shields are unlikely to help and may interfere with normal room ventilation. Depending on the conditions, plastic shields can cause viral particles to accumulate in the room.

“If there are aerosol particles in the classroom air, these shields around students will not protect them,” said Richard Corsi, the new dean of engineering at the University of California, Davis. “Depending on the airflow conditions in the room, you could get a downdraft into those small spaces you’re currently closed to and cause particles to condense in your space.”

Aerosol scientists say schools and workplaces should focus on encouraging workers and eligible students to get vaccinated, improve ventilation, add HEPA air filtration machines as needed, and impose mask requirements – all proven ways to reduce virus transmission.


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