One simple thing might help stop coronavirus from spreading where it’s most dangerous


Chris Smith

  • Scientists used a supercomputer to model the transmission of the novel coronavirus in various indoor settings.
  • The virus spreads faster and easier indoors than outdoors. Some researchers continue to stress the importance of aerosol transmission, just as the WHO and CDC insist that COVID-19 spreads mainly via droplets.
  • The supercomputer simulations have shown that aerosol transmission is increased in indoor environments with low humidity.

The novel coronavirus spreads in three ways, including droplets, aerosols, and fomites, although they all stem from the same phenomenon. When we cough or sneeze, particles are expelled from our mouths. For people with COVID-19, those saliva droplets can contain the infectious virus. They land on surfaces, and the virus remains active for a period of time, depending on various factors including temperature and light. Touching those surfaces and then touching the face is how fomite transmission occurs.

Some of the ejected droplets are smaller in size, and the water evaporates quickly. They become aerosols that linger in the air much longer than droplets, and other people can inhale them. Aerosols are expelled even while talking or just breathing, and that’s what makes the virus so dangerous. Of the three avenues of infection, officials insist mostly on droplets as the primary way to catch COVID-19, although both the WHO and the CDC have acknowledged the increased risk of airborne spread. Germany’s measures to beat the second wave of the pandemic include the mandatory airing of public spaces, which will move those aerosols faster and reduce transmission risk.

Public health measures are all meant to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Face masks can block droplets and aerosols, frequent hand washing diminishes the risk from touching potentially contaminated surfaces, and social distancing puts several feet between you and a potentially infected stranger. Avoiding crowds, especially in indoor settings, will further reduce the risk of spread. But it’s at home and in indoor spaces where the virus is the most dangerous. Researchers fed data to a supercomputer to generate simulations that explain how the virus behaves indoors, and they offer a solution to reduce the risk of transmission.

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One simple thing might help stop coronavirus from spreading where it’s most dangerous originally appeared on on Fri, 16 Oct 2020 at 13:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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