News Release

The Coronavirus-Air Conditioning Nexus


STAN COX, cox at, @CoxStan
Cox is lead scientist at The Land Institute and just wrote the piece “The coronavirus-climate-air conditioning nexus” for The Hill.

He is author of Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World and the recently released The Green New Deal and Beyond: Ending the Climate Emergency While We Still Can.

He said today: “With heat waves like the one that much of the country is getting hit with this week, we gather almost entirely in enclosed, air-conditioned spaces, and that’s going to further raise the risk of coronavirus infection. A recent article signed by more than 240 scientists warned that in spaces that aren’t ventilated with outside air, airborne ‘microdroplets’ exhaled by a person infected with coronavirus can easily travel the full length of a room and be inhaled by another person. In that case, the six-foot social distancing rule doesn’t help. The scientists wrote that there’s an easy remedy for this: keep windows and doors open, to let the indoor air out and let in fresh air. Of course, open windows aren’t compatible with air conditioning, so groups of people gathering in air-conditioned spaces may be at higher risk.”

Cox writes: “Home air conditioning should be turned off on those many summer days when shade and fans can provide sufficient comfort. Offices should never be so frigid that workers resort to wearing sweaters or keeping space heaters under their desks in July. Every building should have windows that can be opened and that stay open as much as possible.

“And, at least for the rest of this summer, let’s all get together outdoors.”