Researchers Investigate A Pattern of Spread of COVID-19: Is it Airborne?

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239 scientists from 32 countries wrote a letter to the World Health Organization regarding COVID-19. In the letter, they wrote that COVID-19 can spread through the air. That is obvious but there’s something new they have found.

The respiratory droplets, when released from an infected person’s body, spread in the air. The particles fall on the ground. This is what the WHO told is one of the causes of the spread of the virus. However, the letter contains additional information.

Research on Spread of COVID-19

They wrote in the letter that COVID-19 spreads when the particles are released in the air. Larger particles, having more weight, fall on nearby surfaces. But the lighter droplets (called aerosols) remain in the air for a long time.

The particles travel in the air and can transfer the virus. Whenever an infected person speaks, sneezes, or coughs, the particles spread in the air; and can reach another person’s body through mouth or nose.

This is very alarming as it suggests that it is very difficult to stay safe from the virus. We never know from where some infected people have passed and sneezed or coughed.

Evidence of Spread

The scientists wrote that many studies have found that the droplets are released while talking or coughing. The droplets can go through 1 or 2 meters in the air. But viral particles were also found in the aerosols for up to four to five hours.

In Wuhan, China, viral particles were detected in aerosols in April, according to the study published in Nature. New cases also confirmed this. Fifty people got infected even though they kept a distance and followed other safety measures.

The Implications:

If WHO admits that coronavirus can spread like this, the safety guideline must be revised. It may include something more than a six feet distance. As it is obvious that it is not possible to clean air from droplets, there must be some new measures.

Health care workers must have face masks and other personal protection equipment to filter aerosols. It also increases the importance of filtering air.

If you meet someone indoors, face masks must be used even if you maintain 6 feet distance. Ventilation should be made better. The biggest thing is, self-isolate yourself if you are suspicious.

Since the emergence of the COVID-19, little information had been obtained according to the spread. Little to no evidence was there for the method of transfer of coronavirus. The guidelines issued by the World Health Organization have been changing over time.

Controlling the spread needs enough information regarding the behavior of the virus. There is little detail of spread through surfaces and foods. The effects of temperature and other such factors is not clear by now.

Although experts have been examining for different factors, it has not been possible to conduct studies on large scales. Until a large number of people are examined for a factor, no reliable conclusion can be found.

By now, cases of COVID-19 have been on the rise in various countries. Overall, WHO has noted the record highest number of positive cases across the world for a single day. But there is nothing which, for sure, determines the increase and decrease the number of cases.