Wearable Air Purifiers Are Pretty Much Useless

So why is Cebu province requiring it?

necklace air purifiers

(SPOT.ph) Over the course of the pandemic, a number of products have been used in an effort to curb further COVID-19 infections. Whether they actually prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a whole other question. The Department of Health on August 16 finally made a statement on the use of necklace air purifiers: "Sa ngayon hindi natin nirerekomenda 'yang mga necklace air purifier, at sinasabi na ng ebidensya at mga eksperto that it's not going to provide you with protection. Sana hindi na lang natin ito gamitin," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media briefing.

She also explained that it "it will give that false sense of security to the public that may lead to complacency."

Back in 2020, experts agreed that even high-quality air filters aren't enough to replace potentially virus-laden indoor air with virus-free air. You still have to consider a filter's performance (possibly one that can filter out particles between 0.3 and 10 microns), the recirculation of air inside a room or a building (i.e. whether it's properly sealed or not), how frequently the filter is replaced, and the usual wear and tear. Necklace air filters don't have the capacity you'd actually need to effectively fight COVID-19.

Researchers from the Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, one of the components of the National Institutes of Health at the University of the Philippines Manila, also presented an evidence summary on February 26 regarding the effectivity of ionizing air filter. They concluded that "no direct evidence was found assessing the effectiveness of ionizing air filters in reducing SARSCoV-2 infections."

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Also read: Your Comprehensive Guide to Metro Manila's Vaccination Programs

Cebu Requires Necklace Air Purifiers Among PUV Drivers

The Department of Health's statement came after Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia's announcement that all drivers and conductors in all public utility vehicles within the province are required to use wearable air purifiers. The installation of HEPA filter equipment inside buses and jeepneys, as well as indoor establishments, is also mandated. Workers in all establishments also need to wear air purifiers.

The memorandum regarding the use of wearable air purifiers and HEPA filters was supposed to be implemented today, August 16. But the manager of Cebu South Bus Terminal confirmed with Inquirer.net that the implementation has been postponed.

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“Transmission happens in the air. So, if we could purify the air around us, it really helps. We have this technology to clean the air around you, why not use it?” Garcia said in a press briefing on August 13.

The cost of wearable air purifiers range from P400 to P10,000, depending on the brand.

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