Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, USA has announced that shopping centres in the State of New York will not be allowed to open without high-quality air filters capable of decreasing the spread of the coronavirus. He made this announcement on June 29th, 2020 during one of his daily coronavirus briefings and plans to enforce this requirement during the state's 4th phase of reopening. During this briefing, Cuomo cited NASA’s study that High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filters help in decreasing the number of aerosols containing the virus throughout the shopping centres.
Shopping centres are presumed to be one of the largest hot spots for the spread of the virus. By mandating they must utilise high-efficiency HEPA filters, Cuomo is hoping to keep his state safe while rebuilding the economy damaged by the shutdown.
As we mentioned in a blog post earlier this week, "New Evidence Supports Airborne Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19)," the latest evidence has supported COVID-19 is mainly spread through tiny respiratory particles known as aerosols which are exhaled when a person talks or breaths rather than large water droplets originally thought to only travel short distances, as previously believed by the World Health Organization (WHO). These COVID-19 particles have a diameter of approx. 0.125 microns and medical-grade H13 HEPA filters and higher are capable of filtering particles as small as 0.003 microns.
Cuomo stated that all filters must reach the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) ratings consistent with HEPA, or similar, filters. These ratings report a filter’s capability to capture large particles as they pass through.
During the briefing, Gov. Cuomo said, “You look around the country and you're seeing malls, indoor spaces that have been problematic and we think this offers promise." 1 Requiring these filters is a positive step towards safely maneuvering the obstacles presented by the virus and continuing economic recovery.
“We’re not going backwards; we’re going forward,” Governor Cuomo.1
To learn more about how air filtration can help decrease the spread of viruses through the air or about how HEPA filters work please read our other blog posts: "How Viruses Spread in the Air; Can Air Filtration Help?" and "The Facts About HEPA Filters in Air Purifiers"