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The New York Times this morning reports that people returning to office buildings in coming weeks may have more to worry about than contracting the coronavirus from fellow employees.

According to the story, "Office buildings once filled with employees emptied out in many cities and states as shelter-in-place orders were issued. These structures, normally in constant use, have been closed off and shut down, and health risks might be accumulating in unseen ways."

Like Legionnaires’ disease.

Here's how the Times sketches out the potential problem…

"'The buildings aren’t designed to be left alone for months,' said Andrew Whelton, an associate professor of civil, environmental and ecological engineering at Purdue University.

"Dr. Whelton, other researchers and public health authorities have issued warnings about the plumbing in these buildings, where water may have gone stagnant in the pipes or even in individual taps and toilets. As lockdowns are lifted, bacteria that build up internally may cause health problems for returning workers if the problem is not properly addressed by facilities managers. Employees and guests at hotels, gyms and other kinds of buildings may also be at risk.

"The biggest worry is Legionella pneumophila. The bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a respiratory condition. It leads to death in about one in 10 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that over 52,000 Americans suffer from the disease each year."

In other words, just another Eye-Opener, and something else to keep us all awake at night…