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WHN Boardroom Briefing – Oct 23

Global prevention risk level: HIGH 

We are in a new wave of uncertainty and an increasingly infectious “variant soup” in the community, even before the winter months have started. We are flying blind with little-no testing and under-reported data. There is pandemic fatigue amongst citizens and little-no government or public health communication about the airborne nature of SARS-CoV-2, or the devastating impact on lives for those who have been medically and/ or socially abandoned (includes Long COVID and other disabled and clinically vulnerable groups). 

Global solution feasibility level : MEDIUM

We can all clean indoor air.  Simple interventions to improve ventilation and monitor air quality in all our offices, event spaces, hospitals, schools, shops and restaurants can reduce risk of airborne infections by 60-80%. If we do this we can all feel safer as we enter the next phase of the pandemic. (Costs vary between £-££££ depending on size of office space and buildings). 


  • SARS-CoV-2 is not a cold, it is a ticking health time-bomb and a sickness and absence minefield for HR, that will look different for everyone
  • Data gaps in virus tracking and surveillance are a growing problem for global workforce management and high risk employees 
  • An unhealthy workforce will lead to higher levels of employee burnout, low productivity and high turnover 
  • To reduce in-office infections and community spread this winter, business needs to help turn the tap off and invest in an emerging new market of “clean air” tech

Case studies / companies: 

  • – tracking clean air projects across the world, features shops, restaurants and venues such as the Royal Court Theatre and Hampstead Theatre
  • Birdie – creative wall “fresh air” monitors from Denmark
  • Philips – provides a diagnostic tool for air purifiers 
  • Cambridge University Hospital – air filters to remove risk 
  • Boston schools – created an Air Quality (AQ) dashboard to measure air pollutants and thermal temp from 4400 sensors in different rooms across 121 schools
  • SAMHE – a collaboration between six UK universities and UKHSA to create a citizen science project and app for students to measure air quality across UK schools 

Next steps:

Last reviewed on October 13, 2023

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