ST. JOHNSBURY — A couple whose business was to keep things clean are on a mission to clear the air when it comes to COVID.
Chad and Kristina Roy are local real estate owners and former owner/operators of Cleanway Services. Their professional training and experience for many years included mitigating fire and flood damage and addressing air quality related to mold issues. Now they are advocating an approach to avoiding COVID they believe is more effective than masks. It’s about neutralizing the airborne virus.
“Masks that individuals are wearing were not designed for a biological threat as small or as dangerous as the Coronavirus or variants,” said Chad Roy.
The prevailing message from health officials is that masks help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and that they should be used in certain situations. CDC guidance advocates mask use in indoor spaces for people who are not vaccinated and said even the vaccinated should mask up indoors in a public space that has seen substantial virus transmission.
Dating all the way back to the pandemic’s arrival in March 2020, the Roys have been communicating their belief that masks are an insufficient prevention tool in an indoor space. Standing outside and using the late winter cold temperatures to make the breath more visible, the Roys recorded and shared videos of how much vapor escapes into the air with every breath despite wearing facial coverings.
“That is why your glasses fog up while wearing a mask,” he said. “That is your water vapor escaping and Covid if you have it.”
Such demonstrations and discussions about the presence of exhaled air lingering in space and the limitations of masking viral transmission reached a wide social media audience and drew attention from others studying the virus and its transmission.
Chad Roy said a Cambridge University professor named Brian Ford used the videos during lectures to show Covid movement with mask-wearing. In May 2020, he said, Jim Revkin, a director at Pfizer and a cardiologist reached out to them and shared one of their videos that discussed how masks reduce the forward projection of a viral load but won’t keep the virus from remaining airborne.
The science, Roy said, is called Psychrometrics, which considers the relationship between water vapor and air.
The Roys’ messaging has led to a relationship with a company called CIMR (Continuous Infectious Microbial Reducation) Tech. “They approached us knowing that we completely understand how Covid is moving with masks and without masks,” said Roy.
They are now contracted to be a regional distributor and representative of CIMR products, which include devices that can be installed to purify the air and could neutralize the virus.
According to online information from CIMR Tech, their technology is “designed to create charged, ionized compounds of safe, self-regulating ultra-low level hydrogen peroxide that actively targets and deactivates both aerosolized and surface pathogens in enclosed spaces.”
“If you exhale COVID then these invisible neutralizers are there waiting,” said Roy.
He reached out to Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia-Orange, who serves as chair of the Senate Institutions Committee, to suggest that the state consider deploying the technology in its buildings. Benning shared the information with Jennifer Fitch, commissioner Department of Buildings and General Services. She said her department was not interested in considering the technology, according to Benning.
The senator said if he is still leading Senate Institutions next February he would consider inviting the Roys in to discuss the technology if they can offer proof of its success deployed elsewhere.
“I said to him when the Legislature convenes if you can come up with evidence where this has been a successful item, where they have some proof that the thing licks Covid” he may get an audience with the committee.
The EPA takes no position on whether such technology is an effective strategy.
“Unlike chemical pesticides, EPA does not routinely review the safety or efficacy of pesticidal devices, and therefore cannot confirm whether, or under what circumstances, such products might be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” the EPA website notes.
While the Roys talk the talk when it comes to their concerns about virus transmission, they also walk the talk by choosing to stand outside an open door for a recent story interview. Despite the availability of a large, open room and the offer to mask up, they chose to stand outside throughout the interview.
“If we have to go in a building we wear technology that we co-invented in early 2020,” said Roy. “We aligned ourselves with another company that was further along in the developmental and testing, a UVC mask that neutralizes any threat we may come into contact with, coupled with safety glasses for further deflection.”
The Roys have also been vaccinated because they see the vaccine as an additional defense.
“Understanding how covid is moving in these tiny invisible grains of moisture that we exhale is the biggest key in Covid Avoidance. So we take a multi-layered defense approach,” said Roy.