Built Environment Considerations to Reduce Coronavirus Transmission

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Built Environment Considerations To Reduce Transmission
Leslie Dietz (a), Patrick F. Horve (a), David A. Coil (b), Mark Fretz (a, c), Jonathan A. Eisen (d,e,f), Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg (a, c)

With the rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that results in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), corporate entities, federal, state, county, and city governments, universities, school districts, places of worship, prisons, health care facilities, assisted living organizations, daycares, homeowners, and other building owners and occupants have an opportunity to reduce the potential for transmission through built environment (BE)-mediated pathways. Over the last decade, substantial research into the presence, abundance, diversity, function, and transmission of microbes in the BE has taken place and revealed common pathogen exchange pathways and mechanisms. In this paper, we synthesize this microbiology of the BE research and the known information about SARS- CoV-2 to provide actionable and achievable guidance to BE decision makers, building operators, and all indoor occupants attempting to minimize infectious disease transmission through environmentally mediated pathways. We believe this information is useful to corporate and public administrators and individuals responsible for building operations and environmental services in their decision-making process about the degree and duration of social-distancing measures during viral epidemics and pandemics.

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(a) Biology and the Built Environment Center, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
(b) Genome Center, University of California—Davis, Davis, CA
(c) Institute for Health and the Built Environment, University of Oregon, Portland, OR
(d) Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California—Davis, Davis, CA
(e) Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of California—Davis, Davis, CA
(f) Genome Center, University of California—Davis, Davis, CA

March/April 2020 Vol. 5, Issue 2  e00245-20   mSystems.asm.org