The debate over “airborne” coronavirus spread, explained

  • By cvbizz
  • July 13, 2020
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Wearing a mask while in an enclosed indoor space: still a good idea! | Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The WHO says aerosol Covid-19 transmission “cannot be ruled out.” Here’s what that means.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organization has stressed that, primarily, Covid-19 spreads through very close personal contact. The virus-laden droplets exhaled from a sick person’s mouth and nose, the thinking goes, are heavy, and fall to the ground before they can get much farther than 6 feet.

But as the pandemic has unfolded, contact tracing studies have shown this isn’t always the case. In China, an air conditioner pushed virus-laden air across three tables in a restaurant, infecting people seated at each one. Researchers reviewed video from the restaurant and saw many of these patrons were more than 6 feet apart from one another, suggesting that the virus


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