WILL the authorities advise people to limit the use of air-conditioning at home and take more fresh-air breaks at the workplace?

Air-conditioning units were never healthy in the first place. Opening a window and getting fresh air as often as possible was always the best approach, and even more essential now in a world with the presence of the deadly Covid-19 virus.

According to a study in the Inter­national Journal of Epidemiology, occupants of air-conditioned office buildings reported more symptoms of ill health than those who worked in buildings with natural ventilation.

In a research letter for the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers linked nine coronavirus infections in Guangzhou to one 63-year-old woman. It was found, upon further investigation, that most of the occupants of a restaurant had not had direct contact with her, but sat nearby at other tables. It seems as though ventilation blew viral particles around the restaurant. Virus transmission in this outbreak cannot be explained by droplet transmission alone.

“Air-conditioning units will take air and re-circulate it through the room, and it’s through that mechanism that these coronavirus droplets can be transmitted,” said Qingyan Chen, a mechanical engineering professor at Purdue University.

The main study that has raised concerns about air-conditioning during the pandemic was one published April 2 about a restaurant in China. Could this also explain transmission of the virus on cruise ships? According to a Purdue University air quality expert, cruise ship air-conditioning systems are not designed to filter out particles as small as the coronavirus, allowing the disease to rapidly circulate to other cabins.

Maybe we should limit the use of air-conditioning units in these uncertain times.


I hadn’t intended to write a word; my feelings were raw and I felt that everything I could possibly say had already been expressed. I had already begun writing about something else for this column, but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t feel that it was right to let my exhaustion with the ongoing brutality of humankind shunt me away from a principle I hold fast.

EARLIER this week, the Minister of Housing officiated at a ceremony organised by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) in which 500 lucky would-be homeowners stood to benefit from a random television draw for the allocation of State housing. This was the expected end of the line for at least those persons, some of whom would have submitted applications since who knows how long ago.

I lived in Falcon Heights, Minnesota for most of the 18 years I resided and worked in the state, teaching at the University of Minnesota. I was offered the job there in 1990, and subsequently bought a house. Falcon Heights is a suburb that is equidistant from both Minneapolis and St Paul, the capital, about a ten-minute drive away from both cities. For most of my time there I was the only black person owning a home on my street, and indeed on adjoining streets.

To say that we live in difficult times is to minimise the challenges each and every one of us faces on a daily basis.

From viral pan­demics leading to broken economies which have given rise to a huge number of people struggling to feed their families.

A minority of social media users have voiced dismay that West Indians are fixated on opining about the injustice of George Floyd’s death due to police brutality.

Here in sweet Trinidad and Tobago, we have jumped on the bandwagon and stood up and expressed our diverse views on the ongoing racial tensions in the United States, but I ask us to step back and look at our country.