Elevators have less coronavirus risk than outdoor dining, Otis Worldwide CEO says


People who follow health guidelines have a higher chance of contracting coronavirus when visiting a restaurant than riding an elevator, Otis Worldwide CEO Judy Marks told CNBC’s Jim Cramer Monday.

“As long as people follow other guidance, they can bring the risks down. We still want people to wear masks just like everywhere else,” she said in an appearance on “Mad Money.” “Wear them in your elevators and, truly, the analysis and the data and the science show that you are less potential for risk than outdoor dining, much closer to grocery shopping.”

Marks made the comment after reviewing results from a three-month study conducted by Purdue University researchers, who examined how airflow in elevators impact exposure to the novel virus. Data from the study, which was commissioned by Otis, a leading manufacturer of elevators and escalators, and released last week.

The research, led by Dr. Qingyan Chen of Purdue, examined the risks of coronavirus transmission on a two-minute elevator ride. Elevator ventilation standards combined with mask-wearing can reduce exposure risk by 50%, while air purification can reduce the risk by another 20% or more, according to information published in a news release.

When compared to the amount of time passengers spend on public transportation or workers spend inside the workplace, elevator riders have a lower risk profile, Chen said in a statement.

“What most people don’t know, Jim, is the elevator’s not a closed box by design and more importantly by code,” said Marks, whose company announced that it would sponsor the research back in August. “There’s an amazing amount of air ventilation in every elevator in the world.”

Shares of Otis slipped 0.15%, despite the company posting quarterly results that topped analyst estimates. In the fourth quarter, Otis brought in $3.49 billion in revenue, up 4% from the year-ago quarter, and produced 66 cents of earnings per share, up from 47 cents.

Otis stock closed at $64.55 on Monday. Year to date, the stock is down more than 4%.

The company is a spinoff of United Technologies Corporation.

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