Enough reasons to believe in airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2?

  • #1
Wrichik Basu
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This comment, entitled "Ten scientific reasons in support of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2",
was published in The Lancet. Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00869-2

I am not a student in biology, and don't stay up to date on latest research. Hence, the question from a layman's point of view: Are the reasons stipulated above good enough to believe that the virus is airborne?
 

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  • #2
Astronuc
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Are the reasons stipulated above good enough to believe that the virus is airborne?
Yes. It's been long known that coronaviruses (like influenza viruses) are transmitted through the air, as well as other means, but it important to know that it readily transmissible without direct contact with other individuals. This has been demonstrated in some cases where people congregated in enclosed spaces without contact (as in the choir in Washington state). This is why clinics, doctors' offices and hospitals have mask dispensers near entry ways, so that those will apparent respiratory infections, usually someone with a strong cough, can wear a mask so as not to infect others.

In addition, SARS in an acronym for Severe acute respiratory syndrome, so one could be reasonably sure that it is primarily inhaled.

It turns out that SARS-Cov-2 is remarkably fragile outside of the human body. I know this from some colleagues who have studied the virus and its transmission.
 
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  • #3
Ygggdrasil
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In addition, SARS in an acronym for Severe acute respiratory syndrome, so one could be reasonably sure that it is primarily inhaled.
Because chicken pox is called chicken pox one can be reasonable sure that is comes from chickens?
 
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  • #4
berkeman
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Because chicken pox is called chicken pox one can be reasonable sure that is comes from chickens?
No, obviously it is transmitted by pox. Whatever those are...
 
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  • #5
berkeman
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This comment, entitled "Ten scientific reasons in support of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2",
was published in The Lancet. Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00869-2
Yikes, this one scares me:

Second, long-range transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between people in adjacent rooms but never in each other's presence has been documented in quarantine hotels.7

Historically, it was possible to prove long-range transmission only in the complete absence of community transmission.4
 
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  • #6
Wrichik Basu
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What should be the change in existing guidelines based on the fact that transmission without direct contact is possible? Sanitizers and masks will, of course, stay. But will the different kinds of masks be as effective as they were before? N95/FFP2 masks, for instance, should be more effective than simple cloth masks or surgical masks.
 
  • #7
russ_watters
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What should be the change in existing guidelines based on the fact that transmission without direct contact is possible? Sanitizers and masks will, of course, stay. But will the different kinds of masks be as effective as they were before? N95/FFP2 masks, for instance, should be more effective than simple cloth masks or surgical masks.
This thread/question confuses me. Wasn't this all hashed-out 6 months ago. What problem do you see with the status quo?
 
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  • #8
Wrichik Basu
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What problem do you see with the status quo?
Previously, it was known that the virus spread via direct/close contact with the infected person (short-range transmission), and the existing guidelines were formed based on that. I am simply asking whether those guidelines are enough to stop airborne long-range transmission of the virus.
 
  • #9
Ygggdrasil
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Here's what the US Centers for Disease Control has to say on the issue: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html

Regarding airborne spread:
COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission
  • Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours. These viruses may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space.
  • This kind of spread is referred to as airborne transmission and is an important way that infections like tuberculosis, measles, and chicken pox are spread.
  • There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising.
    • Under these circumstances, scientists believe that the amount of infectious smaller droplet and particles produced by the people with COVID-19 became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people. The people who were infected were in the same space during the same time or shortly after the person with COVID-19 had left.
  • Available data indicate that it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has COVID-19 than through airborne transmission. [1]

On measures to protect from infection:
Protect yourself and others
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. You can take steps to slow the spread.

Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and others.

More detailed information on protecting yourself from infection: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
 
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  • #10
atyy
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There is probably airborne transmission, but this is rare. One of the best documented cases is the restaurant case in China. However, this was only among people in parts of the restaurant that were very poorly ventilated. In other parts of the restaurant that were not as poorly ventilated, there was no airborne transmission. So airborne transmission is possible when ventilation is poor.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7954773/
Probable airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a poorly ventilated restaurant

 

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