Health Advice



I used a $150 device to track my COVID risk. I got COVID anyway

Emma Court, Bloomberg News on

Published in Health & Fitness

Meanwhile in the U.S., the Biden administration has only said that businesses and organizations should take steps to improve indoor air quality. But those are just recommendations, and the administration hasn't laid out specific standards for air quality nor provided dedicated funding to assist with broad improvements.

Still, the new emphasis on indoor air quality may help grow the global market for technology that can monitor indoor and outdoor contaminants. That market is expected to grow from $4.4 to $6.4 billion by 2028, according to the New York-based Zion Market Research.

Ventilation is not the only factor that influences risk, but it is one of the easier factors to change. It’s also less severe than other COVID measures like, say, restricting indoor capacity. (Allen said that vaccination status, the amount of time spent in a place and the size of a space are also important.)

And sharing that information with the public can allow us to better understand the risks we are taking as we go about life in a world where an extremely contagious virus is all around us.

The monitor also showed me what places were fairly safe. Like outdoors, where levels stayed low even at crowded Jazz Fest. Airports were surprisingly well-ventilated, and so was a hotel lobby, especially relative to the hotel room upstairs. The high-ceilinged, mostly empty wineries in Oregon where my friend and I did tastings had great readings, too.


No one can know for sure exactly how they got COVID, but after a month of monitoring carbon dioxide levels, I had a pretty good idea. Most of Jazzfest happens outside, but on our first night in New Orleans we had tickets for a performance by my boyfriend’s favorite band.

We got to the show early, and stopped at the bar. The space was still relatively empty. I pulled out my carbon dioxide monitor and checked the reading: 641 ppm. Not bad. Well below the CDC’s benchmark of 800 ppm.

Soon the venue filled up with people singing and dancing. My monitor died, but based on all the readings I’d done so far, I could easily envision those numbers ticking up well above 800.

Not long after, one of the musicians who performed that night shared publicly that he had COVID-19. And days later, we had it, too.

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