Plexiglass can be ‘counterproductive’ to proper COVID-19 ventilation, experts say – CBC

In some situations, barriers may make things worse by changing room’s airflow, says doctor

Nov 25, 2021

Some health experts are urging establishments and institutions to re-think the use of plexiglass as a measure against COVID-19, arguing the barriers can even be “counterproductive” when they obstruct the ventilation needed to avoid spreading the more transmissible delta variant.

Since the start of the pandemic, plastic barriers have become a common sight in places like stores and schools.

But just as the coronavirus has evolved since then, experts say our understanding of the efficacy of those barriers also has to evolve — especially as colder weather and relaxed pandemic rules means more people are indoors.

Dr. Peter Juni, an epidemiologist at St. Michael’s hospital in Toronto and a member of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, wants people to “throw out the plexiglass” in most situations.

“The challenge with plexiglass walls, if they’re not being implemented very selectively, is that they actually can impede ventilation if the air can’t circulate well,” Juni told CBC News.

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