Is Coronavirus Air Borne? Read What Scientists Are Saying

Cheryl Sanders
July 7, 2020

Proper ventilation is also essential, and tighter regulations are needed for ventilation and air condition to reduce recirculating air.

This, in Donald Milton's opinion, is the flawless situation for spreading coronavirus.

Whether carried by large droplets that zoom through the air after a sneeze, or by much smaller exhaled droplets that may glide the length of a room, the CCP virus is borne through air and can infect people when inhaled, the scientists said.

The new findings argue the current scientific consensus that says at most new coronavirus transmission occurs through respiratory secretions in the form of large respiratory droplets on the surface. Reed said: "Airborne transmission happens because of airborne particles known as droplet nuclei".

More than 200 global scientists on Monday urged the World Health Organization and the worldwide medical community to "recognize the potential of aerial transmission of COVID- 19 ", in an article published in the Oxford Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.


The WHO has said the coronavirus is only confirmed to be airborne during aerosol-generating medical procedures performed in health care settings, such as intubation.

"We wanted them to acknowledge the evidence", said Jose Jimenez, a chemist at the University of Colorado who signed the paper. But it's also worth emphasising that there really are a lot of unknowns when it comes to airborne transmission of the virus.

But much of the evidence for aerosol transmission is circumstantial.

"If people hear airborne, healthcare workers will refuse to go to the hospital", he said. One report suggested - though it did not definitively prove - that air conditioning may have helped to infect at least nine people with Covid-19 at a restaurant in the Chinese city of Guangzhou. This may take the form of encouraging wider use of masks and looking at increasing ventilation in enclosed spaces. Washing hands remains an important safety measure. It's harder to block aerosols once they are floating in the air, he said.

"Speech droplets generated by asymptomatic carriers of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are increasingly considered to be a likely mode of disease transmission", the researchers wrote. Aerosols, or droplets smaller than 5 microns, can "float" in the air for notably longer and increases the risk of airborne transmission, especially in a stuffy room.


Further, Professor Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia and a member of the World Health Organization infection prevention committee, said that droplet transmission is the primary route of the novel coronavirus spread.

Studies of other viruses completed before the pandemic have "demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt" that droplets expelled by sick individuals can "remain aloft in air and pose a risk of exposure at distances beyond 1 to 2 [meters] from an infected individual", the letter says.

But studies show it's a factor, Milton added. In an article published in the Times, it was detailed that people would have to start wearing masks indoors, if the places are poorly ventilated. For health workers, N-95 masks are a must, he added. "Why not just mask up for a few weeks, just in case?" To the average person, it meant human-to-human transmission wasn't a big threat.

Lastly, people should avoid overcrowding, "particularly in public transport and public buildings".

The group gives practical advice in its letter.


"These are practical and can be easily implemented, and many are not costly". Outdoors in an urban area, he said, carbon dioxide levels are about 350 parts per million in the air.

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