I changed jobs in December to something where I travel a few times a year.
(And I work hard at interesting work, people are marvellously collaborative, I feel like I am working toward something meaningful… AND I get paid far more per *actual* hour worked than in academia. No more evening teaching or marking ever!!)
Preparing for my first trip interstate, I bought a CO2 meter to read air quality in different spaces. As far as I know, I have not had COVID. I want a firmer idea of when to mask up. Currently, it’s “see lots of people, especially indoors, mask up”.
An article about The COVID-safe strategies Australian scientists are using to protect themselves from ‘ the virus nudged me toward buying an Aranet4, although it had been in the back of my mind for a few years.
Where there are more parts per million of CO2, there are more ppm of other airborne components, including viruses. If the air quality is clean, the meter obviously does not tell you whether you are actually sitting between two people who are actively infectious.
Here are annotated readings from a day of travel. Apart from seeing I had a very full day (which also included 2 hours test-riding a couple of e-bikes), there were a couple of surprises. Airports and aeroplanes good places to mask up? No surprise.
A couple of places, where I had thought masking was crucial, I could maybe be more relaxed. A concert hall with around 900 people? Just fine inside, although masking up in the lobby is a good idea. I previously felt nervous at theatrical events, so that was quite nice to find out.
My biggest surprise was the readings of the taxi compared to the Uber. The taxi from the airport had a driver who was masking, as was I, and who kept the windows open, unasked. The air stayed clean. In the Uber, which had another passenger plus driver the air quality spiked to a concerning level. The three of us were unmasked and the air conditioning was on. I opened a window a little. I was tired and just forgot to mask. It’s not a situation on my radar as an issue.
So – yesterday I learned I can still mask at concerts, but can be more relaxed about the air quality… and that masking up in air conditioned cars is a very good idea. And – choose taxis with their windows open. Good to know.