OK to Use Air Conditioners During Pandemic, City’s Top Doc Says

(Zoltan Matuska / Pixabay)(Zoltan Matuska / Pixabay)

With temperatures set to soar into the 90s in coming days, and the heat index forecast to top triple digits, some Chicagoans are worried that they’ll have to make a choice between beating the heat and beating COVID-19.

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Speaking at a press conference Wednesday morning, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, reassured residents they can chill out about cooling off.

Particularly with the city having just marked a grim milestone — 25 years since a deadly heat wave killed 739 Chicagoans — Arwady wanted to bust any myths about air conditioning being related to COVID-19. 

“I want to be clear that it is safe and appropriate for individuals to use air conditioning in their apartments or in their homes,” Arwady said.

Though ventilation is an issue when it comes to the coronavirus, Arwady said she isn’t concerned that a window AC unit or central air in an apartment or house will be a source of COVID-19 spread.

In broad terms, she said, increasing the air exchange between the indoors and outdoors does help limit the spread of COVID-19 in buildings. People can crack open a window or door while running their AC in order to decrease any potential risk, Arwady said. 

Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 |  [email protected]


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