No one, it seems, wants to talk about COVID-19 (Covid), hear about it, or read about it. But the fact is it is still here and impacting businesses and millions of people every day. A visitor from the future who witnessed the current scenes of packed bars and restaurants, shoulder-to-shoulder concertgoers maskless and singing, would never believe we were still in the throes of an airborne pandemic that has caused over 6 million deaths worldwide (over 1 million in the U.S.), labor shortages, and countless people suffering from long term health issues due to “long Covid” (also impacting staffing). If helping keep your business staffed, your employees healthy, and you and your business prepared for what comes next, then take a few minutes to read the following summary.
The current state of Covid
“People in Los Angeles could be facing another indoor mask mandate before the end of the month as COVID-19 is once again spreading like wildfire across the area.”
As reported by Fortune magazine, “barring a rapid turnaround in conditions” health officials in Los Angeles indicate a masking order will go into effect July 29, 2022. As of July 13, over 1,200 Covid patients were hospitalized in Los Angeles County which is twice the number recorded a month ago. Per the reporting, it is the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron that has been “running roughshod in L.A., infecting about 6,400 people per day over the last week. Covid-related deaths have also doubled from 50 to 100 per day in the past month.”
In New York City, where transmission is up 33%, all five of the city’s boroughs are now in the CDC’s high-risk category for community spread. In Texas, on July 15, 2022, it was reported two Austin-area counties, including Hays County, the fastest growing county in the U.S., have reached high-risk level of community spread. Other counties across Texas are also in the high-risk category including Bexar County (San Antonio), Dallas County, and Tarrant County (Fort Worth and Arlington).
Moreover, Covid numbers in the U.S. are considered to be vastly undercounted due to unreported home testing or people simply not testing at all even if they have symptoms. Some estimate that for every reported case, there are seven unreported.
In the U.K., as reported by the Guardian, Covid infection levels have risen “by almost 30% in a week, with an estimated 3.5 million people thought to have had the disease in the first week of July.” Australia is also seeing a concerning rise in Covid. Some hospitals have begun cutting back on elective surgeries as hospitals fill with Covid patients and healthcare workers are off sick.
In the aptly titled “It’s Time to Start Paying Attention to Covid-19 Again,” CNN reports on how the BA.5 variant has contributed to the rise in cases even as Covid has “become an afterthought to many Americans…driving infection and hospitalization rates higher.”
What is BA.5?
The Covid variant BA.5 can reportedly impact even the fully vaccinated as well as those who were recently infected with another Covid variant. As described by Fortune, this subvariant of Omicron “combines the worst traits of Omicron (extreme transmissibility and immune evasion) and the Delta variant (which tends to affect the lungs).”
From a July 14, 2022, report by CNN: “In just over two months, BA.5 outcompeted its predecessors to become the dominant cause of Covid-19 in the United States. Last week, this subvariant caused almost 2 out of every 3 new Covid-19 infections in this country, according to the latest data from the CDC.”
Long Covid and labor shortage
Businesses across the U.S. are suffering staffing shortages. The reason why may vary but included among them is the impact of “long Covid” on workers. In the CBS report, “A Cause of America’s Labor Shortage: Millions with Long Covid,” data analysis found that “an equivalent of 1.6 million people are missing from the full-time workforce because of the disease, which can leave people incapacitated for months with persistent symptoms including fatigue, brain fog, headaches, memory loss and heart palpitations.” A researcher at the Brookings Institution, an organization that conducts research in economics (and tax policy), was “floored” by the numbers or workers “who have stepped out of the job market due to long Covid.” Further, as reported, even if long Covid does not result in workers leaving, hours or the scope of what they can work on is being reduced.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “research suggests that between one month and one year after having COVID-19, 1 in 5 people ages 18 to 64 has at least one medical condition that might be due to COVID-19.” What causes long Covid? Per the Mayo Clinic:
“Organ damage could play a role. People who had severe illness with COVID-19 might experience organ damage affecting the heart, kidneys, skin and brain. Inflammation and problems with the immune system can also happen. It isn’t clear how long these effects might last. The effects also could lead to the development of new conditions, such as diabetes or a heart or nervous system condition.”
The next variant: Centaurus (BA2.75)
As Covid continues to evolve, a new and highly mutated variant called BA2.75, or Centaurus, is growing around the world. Even as BA.5 is just now sweeping over the U.S., Centaurus currently accounts for about a quarter of the cases in India where it is competing with BA.5. Centaurus, which has reportedly been identified with 11 unique mutations from BA.5, has been detected in other countries including the U.S., Australia, Germany, the U.K., and Canada. This strain of Covid which has been called “super contagious” may be able to spread rapidly and evade immunity from vaccines and previous infection. According to Forbes: “The World Health Organization has already warned about BA.2.75 and continues to monitor the variant as it spreads to more regions of the globe. While confirmed cases due to BA.2.75 are relatively low, numbers are expected to increase in the coming weeks.”
What you can do to control Covid where you are
We’re all tired of Covid and the really big picture of new variants spreading in other countries can feel overwhelming. What can you do about Covid transmission happening around the globe? Nothing. But you can help control what’s happening in your environment to protect the health of your employees and customers with Aerapy’s germicidal UV products.
Covid is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Germicidal UV, when properly designed, tested, and installed, can safely help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Aerapy has been in business since 2008 and is dedicated to creating healthy indoor environments with our certified, tested, and study-backed germicidal UV. When tested against SARS-CoV-2, Aerapy’s sanitizing UV achieved a greater than 99.9% kill rate in seconds, in the air and on surfaces. Aerapy UV products are safe for use in occupied spaces, allowing them to work around the clock to sanitize the air. Moreover, we offer a variety of UV devices to meet the needs of every indoor environment.
UV for HVAC. In-duct UV lights work in concert with HVAC systems to prevent the spread of infectious disease throughout an indoor environment. With Aerapy UV equipment for HVAC installed, as air enters your air intakes, it passes through our in-duct UV systems that neutralize both coil surface and airborne mold, viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms before they circulate throughout your indoor environment. By installing Aerapy UV you can achieve, as recommended by ASHRAE, a MERV-13 rating or greater.
Upper air UV. For those with HVAC air cleaning in place you’re already ahead of the game, but it can take hours for air to circulate throughout a building. For those who need immediate air cleaning in more specific areas, upper air (also known as upper room) UV systems offer a targeted solution. Also designed for buildings with no HVAC in place, Aerapy’s standalone upper air germicidal UV products offer immediate airflow, circulation, and disinfection. Depending on the product, these air cleaning UV solutions are either ceiling-mounted and direct wired or wall-mounted and designed to simply plug in, providing a fast and effective air cleaning solution. Aerapy upper air UV units are effective in quickly reducing viral loads in a room. All products have safety certifications for occupied spaces.
UV for transport and service vehicles. Not every work environment is confined to brick and mortar surroundings which is why we made DuoGuard, our germicidal UV device specifically designed for transport and service vehicles. The patented DuoGuard helps guard against the spread of pathogens in two ways: an integrated fan creates powerful airflow for air disinfection during transport and, once unoccupied, the UV device sanitizes surfaces with the push of a button.
Aerapy has been in the business of producing high quality, professionally installed germicidal UV since 2008. Our mission is to help prevent the spread of infectious disease and improve indoor air quality for all occupants. Give us a call today at 866-994-2473 or write to us online for more information.