What's The Risk Of Opening Your Windows?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 6:06 PM, Apr 17, 2020

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Brant Sheckel asks: 

"I live in a busy neighborhood and the weather has been really nice lately. Is there any risk in keeping the windows open?"

Newsy asked the experts: Jason Farley, professor of nursing, infectious disease-trained nurse epidemiologist, and nurse practitioner in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins Schools of Nursing and Medicine; Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention, HCA Continental Division; and Dr. Mary Schmidt, president of Schmidt and Libby Health Advisory Group, board-certified infectious diseases doctor, associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and clinical faculty at the Northern Virginia Inova. 

Their take: Contracting COVID-19 through open windows is low-risk. 

"Open your windows. Allow the natural ventilation. This is particularly important if you have someone in your home who has COVID-19: natural ventilation. Allowing the air to free flow through your home is a great idea. You can remember the solution to pollution is dilution and just trying to get the amount of virus down in your home. We would say the same for any respiratory virus and some bacterial infections like tuberculosis in terms of the wind being able to blow virus in the door or the window from your neighbor. Only if they're standing right there coughing in your window or in your door would I be somewhat worried. And even then, it's probably very low-risk," Farley said.

"There is some literature that it can go through the air, but it's not that efficient of a virus that it's going to go from, you know, the outside environment and come inside of your windows," Schmidt said.