August 10, 2022

Coronavirus: How likely is it for COVID-19 to spread through air? Here's what study claims – Times of India

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The novel coronavirus is an infectious disease that can be transmitted from one person to another. While coming in close contact with an infected person can increase your chances of contracting the deadly virus, as per a recent study, ‘strong evidence’ suggests COVID-19 predominantly spreads through air.
An airborne disease is associated with a virus that can survive in the aerosol droplets that we release while we talk, cough or sneeze. It can then infect people who come in close contact with someone who is suffering with the illness.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), airborne transmission of a disease is the spread of an infectious agent caused by the dissemination of aerosols that remain infectious when suspended in air over long distances and time.
While scientists and medical professionals are still trying to confirm whether or not COVID-19 is an airborne illness, studies have suggested that SARs-COV-2 can spread through aerosols.
According to a report released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 could be airborne. However, it backtracked on the same and said that it had been “posted in error”.
Other studies in the past have also suggested the chances of catching Covid-19 from aerosols are minimal. However, experts have emphasised on taking necessary precautions for the same.
A recent Lancet study, however, has claimed that COVID-19 can spread through air and it is the most predominant route of transmission.
According to the study published on Friday in The Lancet journal, consistent and strong evidence suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for COVID-19, is predominantly transmitted through the air.
The study, led by a team of researchers from the UK, USA and Canada, reviewed published data and found 10 lines of evidence to support the predominance of the airborne route. Of the evidence, the researchers believed that superspreader events like the Skagit Choir outbreak, where 53 people were infected, could not be justified by only close contact infections or touching infected shared surfaces or objects.
Jose-Luis Jimenez, one of the co-authors of the study, said, “The evidence supporting airborne transmission is overwhelming, and evidence supporting large droplet transmission is almost non-existent.” “It is urgent that the World Health Organization and other public health agencies adapt their description of transmission to the scientific evidence so that the focus of mitigation is put on reducing airborne transmission,” he added.
Additionally, the study noted that at least 40 percent of all transmission were a result of silent (asymptomatic or presymptomatic) transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from people who are not coughing or sneezing.
However, the researchers found little to no evidence that the virus spreads through large droplets that settle on the surfaces.
As per the Lancet study, transmission rates of COVID-19 are much higher indoors than outdoors, and transmission is greatly reduced by indoor ventilation.
While we’re all taking extra care and maintaining social distancing to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus, airborne transmission of the virus has posed greater health risks to people living inside their homes. As the virus has the tendency to remain in the surroundings for a long period of time, it makes enclosed spaces all the more dangerous and infectious than outdoor areas.
The most efficient way to safeguard yourself from harmful aerosols is to avoid crowded places and maintain social distancing. Avoid rooms with less or no ventilations as it can increase the risks of contracting the virus. You must wear well-fitted masks at all times, especially while you’re in conversation with people in crowded areas.
According to CDC, “when used properly, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, in a home or confined space”.
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