A CORK-based professor of chemistry has welcomed that the importance of ventilation and air purification has been recognised in the fight against Covid-19.
Speaking to The Echo, John Sodeau, emeritus professor of chemistry at University College Cork (UCC) with research interests in atmospheric chemistry and aerobiology, said the level of carbon dioxide in every indoor space essentially tells us about the level of over-occupancy and what to do about it.
He said that the most basic thing to remember is to open a window but that investing in a CO2 monitor is something that every home, restaurant or pub should do, particularly as those in the hospitality industry move to reopen indoor dining.
“We all know what a stuffy room feels like, but fortunately there are now good, cheapish, compact instruments on the market that can let people know if it’s more or less likely that exhaled breath containing biological aerosols like coronavirus are present. Every home, restaurant, and pub should get one,” he said.
Professor Sodeau, who has invested in a CO2 monitor, said that very often these monitors can also let you know how many small particles are in your room’s air. “These too can be health hazards,” he said.
He said, however, that while measurement of CO2 is of “current paramount importance”, it is “not the final solution in our current fight”.
Making reference to apps and robots being used across the world to minimise contact with staff and movement of people to the bar at indoor dining settings, such as at a pub or restaurant, he said that the “best weapon” is automation.
“The best weapon for indoor working environments, like pubs, for example, has to be automation. Yes, robot bar service, because respiration is not required,” he said.
One company that made moves in 2017 with its Order & Pay app was Wetherspoons. Its app, specifically designed so nobody has to queue at the bar, proved successful and has since been rolled out in its 900 outlets across the UK and Ireland.
Meanwhile, Japan’s first robot bartender has been serving up drinks in a Tokyo pub for some time, with the service robot technology set to be showcased at the Olympic Games.
The repurposed industrial robot has an attached tablet computer face enabling it to smile as it chats about the weather while preparing orders, can pour a beer in 40 seconds, and mix a cocktail in a minute. Professor Sodeau said that this is the industry’s way forward in tackling the spread of Covid-19 indoors.