Airborne or Not? The Evidence on Coronavirus Transmission

Date: 2020-04-07 20:45:04

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Officials of the World Health Organization have said since February that the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19 spreads, at least in most cases, via virus-containing droplets emitted when an infected person coughs, sneezes or exhales. #Coronavirus #Covid19 #WorldHealthOrganization #WHO

These can infect another person by falling into an eye, nose or mouth, or by getting stuck to a hand or finger and placed there. With new evidence suggesting the virus may linger in the air, the WHO says it is assessing the ongoing research.

In its first major report on the Covid-19 outbreak, the WHO said the virus spreads in respiratory droplets — spatters of liquid that are sometimes visible to the naked eye and are forcefully expelled from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. These are usually heavy enough to fall immediately to the ground or surrounding surfaces. Infection could occur if the droplets reach the mouth, nose or possibly the eye of someone nearby.

Transmission can also occur indirectly, via a hand that has touched a so-called fomite — a contaminated surface or object such as a doorknob or utensil. A study concluded that the coronavirus can survive as long as 24 hours on cardboard, 48 hours on stainless steel and 72 hours on plastic.

The WHO recommends people wash their hands frequently and keep a distance of least 1 meter (3 feet) from anyone who has a fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms. It advises against shaking hands, hugging and kissing for now.

For households with a suspected or confirmed case of infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests keeping that person separated from others as much as possible and cleaning and disinfecting “high-touch surfaces” in common areas — such as switches, tables and remotes — daily.

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