White House Virtual Event – “Let’s Clear the Air on COVID: An OSTP Discussion on Clean Indoor Air”

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at 12:30 PM ET – 2:00 PM ET

On Tuesday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will host a virtual event spotlighting the science behind improving indoor air quality to reduce COVID-19 transmission and produce better overall health outcomes – and how to engage Americans on the topic. This event continues OSTP’s work to advance science and technology that benefits all people. The Biden-Harris Administration identified improved indoor air quality as an important tool to fight the spread of airborne diseases in the American Pandemic Preparedness Plan last September. This month, the Environmental Protection Agency, in collaboration with other Federal departments and agencies, launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge and released a practical guide for building managers, contractors, homeowners, and business owners to create an action plan for cleaner indoor air. This event will encourage all people to increase their air awareness and take simple, but powerful, actions to improve indoor air quality.

Dr. Alondra Nelson, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will host a public event on the science behind clean indoor air featuring public health experts, social scientists, and engineers.

Dr. Nelson will open the event with a fireside chat discussion with fellow social scientist and journalist Dr. Zeynep Tufekci (University of North Carolina and New York Times) on how ventilation is a critical part of preventing the spread of future variants and pandemics. Air quality experts Dr. Joseph Allen (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) and Dr. Linsey Marr (Virginia Tech) will discuss the science behind clean indoor air, and Kenneth Martinez (Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium) will discuss steps individuals can take to improve ventilation and filtration. Tracy Enger of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will highlight the history of the agency’s work to improve indoor air in schools, the work ahead, and available resources for improving ventilation in your home, office building, or business.

EVENT TRANSCRIPT & RECORDING : A transcript of the event can be found here. A recording of the event is available here.

CONTACT: Information by request at indoorair@ostp.eop.gov; to schedule interviews, please email press@ostp.eop.gov.


12:30-12:35pm – Opening remarks by Dr. Alondra Nelson (Head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy)

12:35-1:00pm – Dr. Alondra Nelson hosts a fireside chat with Dr. Zeynep Tufekci (Associate Professor at University of North Carolina and New York Times columnist)

A discussion of the history of ventilation and public health, innovation and pandemic prevention, and the relationship between science and society  

1:00-1:30pm – The Basics of Why You Should Care About Indoor Air

  • Dr. Linsey Marr (Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech)
  • Dr. Joseph Allen (Associate Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

Discussion will be facilitated by OSTP Senior Advisor for Biotechnology and Bioeconomy Dr. Georgia Lagoudas

1:30-1:40pm – How to Take Care of Indoor Air

  • Kenneth Martinez (Chief Science Officer, Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium)

Discussion will be facilitated by OSTP Senior Policy Advisor for Biosecurity Dr. Stephanie Guerra.

1:40-1:58pm – EPA’s Work on Clean Indoor Air in Schools and Beyond

  • Tracy Enger (IAQ Tools for Schools Team Leader/Program Analyst, Indoor Environments Division, US Environmental Protection Agency)

Discussion will be facilitated by OSTP Senior Policy Advisor for Public Engagement in Science Dr. Erica Kimmerling

1:58-2:00pm – Closing

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