It wasn’t so long ago that the people of Louisiana slogged through the summer without air conditioning.
But over the past half century or so, we’ve become addicted to it.
Now, it seems, we’re finding there is a downside to living with refrigerated air — it helps trap and recirculate the germs that create COVID-19.
Back in the spring, we could hope that the summer’s heat would vanquish the virus, or at least suppress it for a while.
That seems not to be happening, as cases are on the rise in sunbelt states like Texas and Florida. Louisiana has not been spared.
One reason may be that we’re not living outdoors in the Louisiana summer heat. We’re inside, where our air conditioners are creating a friendly environment for the infection and recirculating tarnished air.
Dr. Edward Nardell, a Harvard University professor who studies airborne diseases, says in poorly ventilated buildings, without outside airflow, the virus could get pushed around by currents created by air conditioning units.
Modern air conditioning technology limits outside airflow in the name of energy efficiency.
A small study out of Wuhan, China found one person infected nine other people at a restaurant through germs propelled by air conditioning.
Maybe those hot summer days aren’t so bad after all.