Doctor’s Note: Can coronavirus spread through the air?

The spread of the coronavirus has been rapid and aggressive, leaving most of us thinking carefully about how we socialise with each other, how we clean surfaces and utensils, and wondering whether it is time to isolate ourselves from the outside world altogether.

We know that the virus’s main route of transmission from one person to another is through droplets which are sneezed or coughed out by infected people. A single cough can produce up to 3,000 droplets, while a sneeze can produce as many as 10,000.

These droplets then land in or are breathed into another person’s airways, or fall on a surface that is touched by an uninfected person, who then touches their face – specifically their mouth, nose, ears or eyes.

This method of transmission is known as “droplet spread”. While it is in these droplets, the coronavirus is only in the air for a short time and travels only a short distance before it is pulled down by gravity after being coughed or sneezed out.

 

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