Covid-19 summer in France: Are fans and air con safe to use?

A white plastic table fan. Covid-19 summer in France: Are fans and air con safe to use?
Evidence around the safety of using fans and air conditioners is shifting, as France issues recommendations for the current situation

As summer heats up, fans and air conditioning units are being turned on in homes, businesses, shops and offices. But are they wise to use as the SARS-Cov-2 virus is still around? We clarify current French advice.

Concerns over the safety of fans began after a Chinese study suggested that air conditioning in a restaurant in Canton may have helped to spread the virus between customers, and another study of 318 clusters in 120 towns found that “sharing a space indoors [with others] is a major infection risk”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has repeatedly said that while the virus can theoretically spread in the air, “studies so far suggest that the virus that causes Covid-19 is mainly spread through contact with respiratory droplets, rather than in the air.”

This means that the virus is mainly thought to be contained in droplets from other people’s cough or sneezes, which spread 1-2 metres in front of them, and then fall onto surrounding objects - such as tables - rather than hanging in the air.

Fans are only likely to “spread” the virus, in this case, if they are directly and strongly positioned next to someone as they ...

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