Countries like Switzerland recently decided that the pandemic was over because lobbies wanted it to be over. Despite high numbers of infections and the percentage of tests being positive Switzerland decided that the acute phase of the pandemic was over. For them the lack of deaths, and the lack of people in ICUs meant that the pandemic had entered a safe stage.
From Wednesday to Friday we went from masks must be worn indoors to “there is no need for masks anymore, even on public transport. From one day to the next we went from “masks are obligatory” to “masks will be tolerated”. In Spain we read about how some psychologists noticed an “empty face” syndrome within the Spanish teen community, which was then spread via the free press to other European states. Wanted to wear a mask had become stigmatised as almost being a sign of mental illness.
From one day to the next the Swiss media went from writing twelve lines of text about the pandemic to writing zero for days at a time. We now hear about Swiss covid numbers once per week. The body that was in charge of monitoring the situation has been dissolved, the state of emergency has been lifted and the pandemic is being ignored.
Meanwhile France, next door, is blood clot read on the RTS map of European infections. The pandemic is far from over but the Swiss government has decided to pretend it is.
That’s where devices like the Aranet 4 come in. For as long as Switzerland was taking the pandemic semi-seriously I felt that such a device was a waste of money and a gimmick. When Switzerland decided to ignore the pandemic such a device became crucial because we need to know how risky the environment we are is. The higher the co2 level, the higher the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
You can set the device to update every minute, two minutes, five minutes or ten minutes. The battery lasts for two years and there are two apps. The first Aranet 4 allows you to keep a log of the air situation over time and see the trends. Aranet 4 display allows you to see the display but nothing else. In theory every mobile phone can access an Aranet 4 without the need for pairing with the display app.
I go to the shops as soon as they open and in the time it takes for me to shop the reading goes from 540ppm to 600 within a few minutes of the shops opening. I have not been later in the day, to see how much further it climbs. The point is simple. co2 rises very quickly, whether you are home alone with closed windows, in a car, or in a shopping center.
We see people queue to wash their hands and disinfect their trollies, but they fail to wear a mask. Masks are the single and best line of defense and people are washing their hands instead.
Aranet 4 devices are great because they are small, light, easy to carry, easy to read and the data is easy to keep an eye on. It allows you to assess air cleanliness within one minute of walking into a room. You can see how quickly opening windows can make a room safer. You can also see whether a lift or hallway is safe. Surprisingly I got low readings in a lift.
Aside from checking that shops, lifts and hallways are safe you can also use it when you visit friends or family. When you step into a room, you can go and open the windows, and when you see that the Aranet 4 shows that the air is fresh you can take the mask off and behave more normally.
The Aranet 4 is expensive for what it does and outside of a pandemic where governments of several nations fail to keep people safe I would class it as a luxury. Due to Switzerland and other EU countries deciding to pretend the pandemic is over the situation has changed and such a device becomes worthwhile. It provides us with a quick way of assessing the level of risk in a room, so that we may decide whether to stay, leave, or open windows. It allows us to quantify whether removing the mask is a risk worth taking or not.
I do not carry this device unless I plan to spend time indoors. It is not designed for falls, being exposed to the outdoor elements etc.