Most U.S. buildings don’t have this kind of ventilation system, but it could prevent COVID-19 spread

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Thermal displacement ventilation moves air through rooms more effectively than most U.S. HVAC systems. As the vaccination rate continues to rise, the promise of returning to normal routines edges closer for many office workers. Already, schools in hundreds of districts around the country are fully open; New York City schools are due to reopen on March 22 and Chicago’s target date is April 19. But when they return, the majority of employees and schoolchildren will go back to old-fashioned ventilation systems, whose designs will do little to reduce coronavirus transmission by aerosol : that is, droplets that may linger in the air in enclosed spaces for some time after they leave a person’s body. Read Full Story

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Dyson is building 15,000 ventilators to fight COVID-19

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The company will donate thousands of ventilators abroad. As the world faces ventilator shortages in the growing COVID-19 pandemic, Dyson—the U.K. company known best for making vacuums, air purifiers, and hair dryers—designed and built a new ventilator in 10 days. Dubbed CoVent, it’s a bed-mounted, portable ventilator that can run from battery power in field-hospital conditions. Read Full Story

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How social distancing could make public transportation more bike-friendly

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Can socially distant transportation design make it easier than ever to incorporate cycling into your commute? The designers at PriestmanGoode reckon so. As people return to work, transit systems will need to do a better job of supporting bike ridership, which has already grown substantially across Europe and, to a lesser extent, the U.S . during the COVID-19 era. And no wonder: People cooped up at home are looking for a fun, safe way to get some fresh air, and an alternative to the close confines of public transportation. One design firm has released a concept that makes commuting by bike a little bit easier. Read Full Story

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Why “flexibility” may be the least helpful thing companies can offer working parents right now

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Companies have piled on the perks for parents who are working from home during the pandemic. They should have been focused on systemic change. Over Labor Day weekend, real estate mogul Rob Speyer got a call from an old friend: Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, the union that represents New York City’s 75,000-plus educators. Mulgrew had a favor to ask. Could Speyer, through his role as president and CEO of Tishman Speyer, help monitor and improve ventilation in some of the city’s public schools, as he had done across his own commercial real estate portfolio? Good ventilation could reduce the spread of COVID-19 in enclosed spaces like classrooms—and lay the foundation for reopening the schools that serve New York City’s 1.1 million students. Read Full Story

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This $2,500 ventilator is a masterclass in designing for the COVID-19 era

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The biggest design feats of COVID-19 are medical devices that can be Frankensteined together with the parts that are available—not necessarily the parts you want. We thought that talk of ventilator shortages was done in the U.S., that we’d powered through peak demand from COVID-19 patients with some clever hacks . Now in places like Houston , where COVID-19 is spiking while hospitals reach capacity, that might not be the case. Ventilator shortages are a real issue that still lingers not just in parts of the U.S., but across 10 African countries , too. Read Full Story

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This fuel cell company has pivoted to fixing old ventilators to give to hospitals

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Many retired ventilators need only little updates to be functional again. Bloom Energy is collecting them, refurbishing them, and sending them out to hospitals that need them. In one worst-case scenario, as many as 960,000 patients with COVID-19 in the U.S. might need to use ventilators, the life-saving hospital equipment that helps patients breathe when they can’t on their own. But there are only around 160,000 ventilators in the country, according to an analysis from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. As manufacturers like General Motors and Ford pivot to making ventilators, a California company called Bloom Energy is taking another approach—refurbishing some of the thousands of ventilators that currently sit in storage because they’ve reached their end-of-service life. Read Full Story

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3 ways to improve your kids’ social skills during remote learning

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Many schools are planning to do remote learning for the beginning of the school year. But kids still need social interaction when they’re stuck at home. With the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic getting worse in most of the country, a growing number of school districts from San Francisco to Atlanta have determined that a return to daily in-person instruction isn’t yet safe or viable. They aim to stick with remote learning as the school year gets underway. Read Full Story

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