In this post I provide my opinion on why purchasing ‘air defense’ against respiratory viruses is such a good investment. I’ll start by listing some data.
Influenza data – The Netherlands (Nivel)
Number of people registered with the flu, determined by their GP (weeks 1 to 52):
2015 – 496,826 – 2.94% of the population
2016 – 444,944 – 2.63% of the population
2017 – 380,986 – 2.23% of the population
2018 – 522,598 – 3.04% of the population
2019 – 315,187 – 1.82% of the population
Average: 432,108 people – 2.53% – per year
So what you see here is that in the last 5 years, on average, 400 thousand people are registered as having had the flu. So these are registered flu CASES.
The striking thing is that the first 10 weeks of the year were good for:
2015 – 227,592 – 45.81% of the total infections for that year
2016 – 197,511 – 44.39% of the total infections for that year
2017 – 163,661 – 42.96% of the total infections for that year
2018 – 249,282 – 47.70% of the total infections for that year
2019 – 124,572 – 39.52% of the total infections for that year
So what you see here is that in the last 5 years, on average, over 40% of people who catch the flu, catch it in January and February. These months are the months with the lowest humidity and least sunshine of the whole year. That already gives us a major indicator of what causes a respiratory virus to spread.
Explanation of the graphs below. The blue upright bars are the number of Influenza infections per week, as measured for Nivel. The up and down (from left to right) brown line is the specific humidity, measured by the KNMI (Dutch National Weather Service). The green bar is a specific humidity of 8 g / kg or more (that is a relative humidity of 50% or more at 21 Celsius). The orange bar is a specific humidity of between 7 g / kg and 8 g / kg (that is a relative humidity of + – 45% or more at 21 Celsius) and The red bar is a specific humidity of 6 g / kg or less (that is, a relative humidity of 40% or less at 21 Celsius). These colors are also used on www.coronaweer.nl
Do you see the difference between 2018 and 2019?
In 2018, the humidity was substantially lower than 2019. If you look closely, you can see that “the first wave in 2018” (in the first 10 weeks) remains higher for a longer period of time. You even see the humidity drops below 3 g / kg Specific humidity. In 2019, as you can see, the humidity was a lot higher. And this is NOT a coincidence as my research paper points out.
The calculated cost of a respiratory virus
Imagine the cost for a minute. If all these people are (i) employees and (ii) stay at home – sick – for an average of 1 week (which I also recommend, to prevent infections) with flu and (iii) these employees have an average income of EUR 35,000 per year (this was the median income in 2020) then it costs employers, roughly speaking: (432,108 X EUR 643) = € 277,845,444 (277 million euros per year). And that is, in my opinion, a VERY conservative estimate.
The probable costs of a respiratory virus
Please take into consideration that some of these employees spread the disease among their colleagues. The data i listed above is from actual reported cases. These are people who (i) have seen their doctor and (ii) were diagnosed with the flu. At a ratio of 1 in 4 (one in 4 people with the flu actually goes to see their doctor) we can estimate the damage to be more than 1 billion euros per year for employers. This damage is only based on salaries. We completely ignore the consequences for lost turnover due to lower labor productivity.
‘Air Defense’ makes sense
As I have consistently pointed out, I’m all for ‘Social Distancing’ and ‘Hygiene measures’. BUT I’m also convinced that respiratory viruses travel through the air as aerosols. The scientific evidence is clear. The question then becomes, does investing in ‘Air Defense’ make sense?
The simple answer is ‘YES‘
- Humidifier – Average Cost: €450 – Write off: 3 years – Average Protection: 200m2 (2,150 square foot). That’s roughly €5 per employee, per year.
- Air Purifier – Average Cost: €750 – Write off: 3 years – Average Protection: 100m2 (1,000 square foot). That’s roughly: €18 per employee, per year.
- UVC Light – Average Cost: €999 – Write off: 3 years – Average Protection: 100m2 (1,000 square foot). That’s roughly: €23 per employee, per year.
Investing in ‘Air defense’ costs roughly €46 per employee, per year. If you avoid just one employee from infecting another, you just saved €750,–. At least!And if you don’t want to spend it all, start with the product that gives you most ‘bang for your buck’ (ie. A Humidifier).
It’s a no-brainer. And you have some time. It’s not January yet. Go buy yourself some peace of mind and be proud of the fact that you just made one of the best investments of your life. Just don’t buy a piece of $hi7.
Ps. It also means your staff doesn’t necessarily need to wear masks (which costs roughly €360,– per employee, per year) any more.