Are all of these plastic barriers actually helping stop the spread of COVID?

Clear acrylic, PMMA and other plastic sheets attached to separate desks, workplaces, canteens and sales counters have certainly been in great demand since the beginning of the pandemic.

But are they actually helping fight the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases? A Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health researcher says there is no evidence.

“We spent a lot of time and money focusing on hygiene theater,” Joseph Allen, an indoor air researcher, told Bloomberg. “The danger is that we haven’t used the resources to combat the real threat, which is airborne transmission – both real dollars and time and attention.”

Instead, masks and improved air filtration systems did much of the work needed to keep people safe before vaccination became widespread. You can read Bloomberg’s story at our sister newspaper, Crain’s New York Business.

Trinseo of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, has just completed the acquisition of the French Arkema SA business in Colombes, which includes the Plexiglas brand in America, and has announced that it will invest in products and technologies in its manufacture, as well as in research and development.

But at the time the acquisition was announced, the companies realized that plexiglass sales growth associated with the pandemic was being offset by a decline in auto production. This means that even if companies refrain from laying panels according to the Harvard study, there are still many other sales opportunities.

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