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COVID-19: State Tells Businesses, Malls To Install Systems That Can Filter Out Virus

Malls have been mandated to install air filtration systems that can filter out COVID-19 particles. Photo Credit: ny.gov
Malls and businesses have been instructed to install air filtration systems that can filter out COVID-19 particles. Photo Credit: ny.gov

Before reopening, malls in New York will be required to install new air filtration systems that can filter out novel coronavirus (COVID-19) particles.

During a daily COVID-19 briefing on Monday, June 29 in Manhattan, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that new systems must be installed in malls that have a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) such as High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters.

The measure has also been advised for businesses, when possible.

Cuomo said that COVID-19 particles are approximately .125 micron in diameter, and HEPA filters are designed to filter out particles that are .01 micron and above.

The requirement for malls to install the HEPA filters came following a study by NASA.

“For any malls in New York that we open, we will make it mandatory that they have air filtration systems that can filter out the COVID virus,” Cuomo said. “For many of these places, it’s just a matter of what filters you install, and filtering out different sized particles.

“We’ve been looking at this issue across the country in malls that have opened up,” he added. “Large indoor spaces have been problematic, but I think this offers promise. We’ve done a lot of work with the air filtration systems, and it could make a significant difference.

Cuomo said that on Sunday, June 28, 46,428 more New Yorkers were tested for COVID-19, with 391 (0.84 percent) coming back positive, the lowest number to date. The three-day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths in New York is down to eight, also the lowest since the pandemic broke out more than three months ago.

There are currently 853 COVID-19 patients in the state still hospitalized after peaking at 18,825 in April.

“They predicted that this spike (in cases) would continue to kill tens of thousands of people, but New Yorkers came together and they turned the curve,” Cuomo said. “We plateaued on day 42, then had to reduce the infection rate, and we saw a decline from day 42 through day 111.

“We don’t need to climb another mountain. One was enough. We don’t want to climb a mountain range.” 

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