Can Coronavirus Spread through Air?
Created by Shalini Singh Updated on Jul 13, 2020
The World Health Organization has acknowledged the possibility that the novel coronavirus can remain in the air in crowded indoor spaces, where “short-range aerosol transmission cannot be denied out”. I am sharing this blog, especially keeping children and parents in mind and I hope you can use this information to stay safe during the pandemic. The updated details have been shared by WHO three days after a group of 239 scientists from 32 countries issued an appeal to the medical community and to the relevant national and international bodies to recognize the potential for airborne spread of COVID-19. Airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus is highly virulent,
According to the findings from the data and research of these 3 epicentres, "the difference with and without mandated face covering represents the determinant in shaping the trends of the pandemic." WHO has mentioned that some outbreaks that have occurred in crowded indoor spaces suggest the possibility of aerosol transmission in crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a long period of time. It's important to highlight that this is combined with droplet transmission. Transmission through respiratory droplets while coughing, sneezing, talking is still believed to be the primary mode of transmission of the virus.
What are aerosols? How are they different from respiratory droplets?
Aerosols are minute particles that are expelled under pressure. It refers to particles suspended in the air like fine dust, mist, or smoke. In this context, aerosols are micro droplets, much smaller (5 microns or less in size) than respiratory droplets, and take a longer time to drop to the floor.
The difference between airborne and droplet transmission is that Droplet spread occurs when germs inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from an infected person enter the eyes, nose, or mouth of another person. Aerosol or airborne material can travel up to 6-9 feet before they settle. Droplets travel short distances, less than 3 feet (1 meter) from one person to another. So, Aerosol transmission has a longer reach and can lead to transmission.
What does that mean for us? How to stay safe?
The fact that airborne transmission is possible means that we need to take preventive measures to avoid transmission. One of the key findings from the study shows that wearing protective face masks can prevent or limit the virus-load of such a transmission. Face Masks, when worn properly can prove to be highly effective in preventing inter-human transmission and containing the spread of the disease.
WHO has emphasized the need to avoid crowded places, close-contact settings and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, in order to avoid coronavirus transmission.
How to wear a face mask
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, please follow these instructions on how you should wear a face mask.
Wash your hands before putting on the face mask.
Put it and cover your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
Fit the mask in a comfortable and close manner against the sides of your face
Make sure you are able to breathe easily
How to take off the Face Mask
Untie the strings behind your head
Use only by the ties or ear loops
Fold the outside corners together
Place the face mask in the washing machine
Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.
Precautions to prevent yourself and your loved ones from CoronaVirus
1. Wear a mask while venturing out, even at any place with more than 2-3 people. Wearing a mask is a must to avoid any transmission through air.
2. Practice respiratory etiquette - Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing; dispose of the tissue after use in the nearest waste container, and maintain hand hygiene after coughing and sneezing.
3. Avoid crowded places and enclosed spaces. If you have to go there, make sure you have your mask on. Follow the right procedure while wearing and taking off the mask.
4. Do not touch your face intermittently, avoid touching your face, nose, eyes as much as possible.
5. Keep physical distancing and wash hands every 2-3 hours with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
6. Practice Sufficient and effective ventilation in offices, schools, hospitals and other buildings. This should also be supplemented with Airborne infection control methods like air filters and exhaust.
7. Ensure environmental cleaning and disinfection.
8. Maintain safe physical distance of at least 9-12 feet.
Remember, Prevention is better than cure and prevention starts with preparation. I hope this blog helps you prepare and prepare well in advance to keep yourself and your dear ones safe from Coronavirus. Take care.