From Iceland — Icelanders Can Use Hot Water to Fight COVID-19

Icelanders Can Use Hot Water to Fight COVID-19

Published October 13, 2020

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Björn Birnir, professor of mathematics at the University of California, says that the water supply in Iceland can be used against the spread of COVID-19, MBL reports.

He is urging the government to subsidise district heating fees for a year in order to put this into practise, saying that it is important for Icelanders to keep warm but allow for as much ventilation as possible.

”A few days ago, the American television station CNN gave an overview of how the COVID-19 infection spread throughout the northern central United States,” Björn said. “This part of the country cools first and the people in these states start heating their houses first. This is interesting because last summer a similar wave swept over the southern and southwestern parts of the country where the summer temperatures are highest and air conditioning is used in the houses. In both cases people spent more time indoors and it seems that heating and air conditioning had a negative effect on the air quality. It was found that in a confined space, mist or particles containing the virus can accumulate and condense if the ventilation is not good enough.”

Increased infections due to cold weather

Björn goes on to say that Icelanders are lucky to heat their house with hot water that is not in short supply. Therefore, they can open windows to ensure good ventilation and can turn their radiators up fully to provide heat.

“In other words, they can use the district heating against COVID-19. This is not such a bad idea, because steam heating was developed to fight tuberculosis. Now, of course, district heating is not free, but this is an ideal opportunity for the government to subsidise fees for a year. It is likely that the increase of infections that is taking place in Iceland is partly due to people staying indoors and warming up more when the air cools. If there is a lack of ventilation, the spray and particles carrying the virus can be blown into the air. It is a good idea to put the heaters on full and open the windows.”

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