After getting informed that the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) can be transmitted via droplets, the latest update had confirmed that this virus can also be transmitted via aerosol (airborne).
This update was announced by Zeng Qun, the deputy head of Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau at a press conference in Shanghai yesterday (8 February).
“The other major routes of virus infection are contact transmission and direct transmission including transmission via respiratory droplets according to the experts.”
The experts Zeng Qun referred to were the health and epidemic prevention experts, according to Xinhua Net. Zeng had also advised the Chinese residents to take precautionary measures, such as cancelling all social activities and gatherings, opening windows regularly to maintain the indoor air circulation, as well as disinfecting households.
In order to make it easier for everyone to understand, the novel coronavirus has a few modes of transmission, that are droplets and the latest one — aerosol.
But what is the difference between droplet and aerosol? They sound pretty similar TBH.
Let’s take a look at droplet transmission first. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this particular coronavirus can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, just like how other influenza and respiratory diseases spread. The maximum exposure is within 3 to 6 feet.
“These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”
What about aerosol transmission? Aerosols are basically tiny particles where the droplets have evaporated (aka droplet nuclei). The particles are able to stay in the air for long periods of time (outside of the body), according to Mount Sinai Hospital’s e-portal. Not only that the pathogens are resistant to drying, but it can also travel way further than large droplets.
The brief comparison between the droplet and aerosol transmissions suggested that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted even when people inhale air that has been mixed with the pathogen.
No matter how the novel coronavirus transmits, we should always maintain our hygiene by washing our hands regularly, as well as avoiding touching our eyes, nose and mouth after coming in contact with public surfaces. We’re slightly glad that the Lunar New Year is over, and gatherings have begun to slow down. Keep in mind to avoid crowded places and stay at home if you can.
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