When Dr. Richard Corsi floated an idea on Twitter for a highly effective, inexpensive, DIY air purifier to help lower the risk of Covid, his light-bulb moment went viral in the best possible way. Now many of America’s top scientists—and even the White House—are touting the invention, and people all over the planet are thinking inside the box.
This story started, as so many do, with something small. In this case, magnitudes smaller than the period at the end of this sentence—a tiny droplet carrying the SARS CoV-2 virus.
It all began on Jan. 20, 2020, when environmental engineer and air quality expert Dr. Richard Corsi, the man at the center of this particular story, tweeted out a BBC article about a “new virus in China” that by that point had led to only two confirmed deaths. But Corsi could read between the lines and commented on the news with these five prescient words: “This deserves the world’s attention.”
By February, concerned that the virus could be airborne, Corsi dropped his routine of going to the gym six days a week and stopped taking public transportation.
The story got bigger from there—much bigger.
A lifelong academic specializing in air quality, Corsi was especially concerned about the ability of cash-strapped schools to protect their students and faculty. In July, as students prepared to return to school, his concern grew considerably, and he tweeted: “Public K-12 schools serve as a place to work or learn for more than 15% of the total population of the United States each year. IMHO, they are THE critical ‘business’ to watch during re-opening in the fall. I’ve worked w/ many school districts and know how resource-constrained they are and, in many cases, strained in terms of facilities staff. This gives me gr8 concern. If not done right the educational, health & econ impacts could be devastation on top of current devastation.”