Groundhog Day

In the second year of the pandemic, fall is upon us and the current infectious wave is rolling. Some things seem to be the same: Again another season of school closures, homeschooling, rotating classes, children freezing in winter? None of these should be happening again - under any circumstances. That is why parents' and teachers' associations continue to call tirelessly for the widespread use of - effective and professional - air purifiers for schools. We already reported on the problem in this blog in February of this year. Half a year has passed since then, the new school year has started. What has happened since then?

 

Five past twelve

In the meantime, the German Federal Government is also getting involved with 200 million Euros in funding for air purifiers. But the disputes between associations and politicians have degenerated into a hectic and sometimes chaotic flurry of activity. In addition, the subsidies that were quickly put together in the summer and the associated calls for tenders are now fatally clashing with a global economic situation that currently relies on longer-term planning and advance planning. Carsten Hermann, managing director of ScreenSource GmbH and co-developer of the AiroDoctorⓇ, recently described the problem in Tagesspiegel Background as follows:

"Even if all manufacturers were producing under high pressure, we would no longer have enough air purifiers in time to meet demand. Logistics bottlenecks and also the slump in the production of switching electronics are causing massive delays."

In addition, there are skyrocketing transportation costs by water and air, Hermann said, which will continue well into 2022.

 

Calling for safe and effective air purifiers 

The highest German Federal Environment Agency, the Umweltbundesamt, which politicians have repeatedly used as an advocate of the "ventilation is enough" strategy, recently also stressed the importance of tested air purifiers for classrooms. At the same time the Umweltbundesamt warned against untested run-of-the-mill devices, which flood hardly controlled the highly competitive air purifier market.

The problem: At best, these devices are simply ineffective against infectious corona aerosols. At worst, they operate on the basis of health-threatening technologies that release harmful byproducts or a highly infectious mixture of pathogens when the filter is changed. Why certified and safe air purification technologies such as UV photocatalysis are not used to a greater extent to protect children, and instead rely on partly outdated and potentially dangerous devices, is currently also the subject of the Wirtschaftswoche, which attests to a "quick award instead of scientific expertise".

 

AiroDoctor: Certified and recommended for schools

One of the certified devices is the AiroDoctor air purifier, which is already in use at many schools in Germany and abroad. The feedback from students and teaching staff is consistently positive: the quiet operation as well as the easy handling, cleaning and maintenance compared to conventional air purifiers are explicitly emphasized in the feedback.