Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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Good ventilation in stadiums limits aerosol dispersion | NOW

Not the spread of the audience over the stands, but ventilation offers the best protection against the spread of aerosols. That is one of the first tentative conclusions after months of research by Eindhoven University of Technology in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

With the World Cup qualifying match between the Netherlands and Latvia (2-0), Eindhoven University of Technology completed a months-long investigation into the spread of aerosols in the stadium on Saturday. During that duel, they measured in one box how aerosols spread among Orange supporters who watched a football match in the ‘old way’: “without a mask, singing and shouting loudly and with a lot of beer”, according to lead researcher Bert Blocken.

“That has produced very good data that are undoubtedly of value in the preparation for the European Championship. In any case, it cannot be said that the Netherlands did not do its best to get supporters in a stadium in the summer. can. Now it is a matter for governments. ”

The KNVB must submit a plan to UEFA on April 7 for matches with an audience in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. The European federation will then decide on 20 April in which of the intended twelve host cities the European Championship can be played next summer.

Five thousand Orange fans were present in the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Saturday at the game between Orange and Latvia.

Research at Eindhoven University of Technology started in December

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With more than three hundred measurement sensors in the stands, the research team of Eindhoven University of Technology has been monitoring the number and size of aerosols since December last year. Blocken emphasizes that these are preliminary results, the extensive analysis of the data will follow.

“But it seems that the weather has the biggest influence on the spread of the aerosols. Although the ArenA is relatively well closed, thanks to the roof and limited openings in the corners of the stadium. The impact of the wind force and direction has affected me. frankly amazed. ”

In practical terms, this means that aerosols are carried away with the wind and are therefore less likely to be picked up by people. In the absence of wind, small moisture droplets will stick around, which increases the risk of contamination.

Aerosols in stadiums can be controlled with limited measures

“With limited measures you can improve the ventilation in stadiums”, says Blocken. “This offers opportunities for stadiums worldwide not to have to be fully locked in the future in the event of a new virus outbreak.”

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According to Blocken, the influence of the weather on the distribution of aerosols is greater than the distribution of spectators in the stadium or the presence of so-called ‘super diffusers’, people who emit significantly more droplets than average.

“On the one hand that is a problem, because the weather is uncontrollable. Even in the ArenA. But on the other hand, it is also an opportunity, because now you can estimate the concentration of aerosols in a match based on a good weather forecast. will be.”

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