A new study found that the novel coronavirus could spread through the air and not just by coughing and sneezing. So sick people need to cover their faces and take strict precautions. While current studies are not definitive, the findings of the available studies are aligned with aerosolization of the virus through normal breathing. So far, evidence has only indicated that the primary transmission mechanism for the extremely infectious coronavirus is through respiratory droplets, around one millimeter in diameter, released by sick people or asymptomatic people when they sneeze or cough. Such droplets will fall rapidly to the ground even a meter away.
If the researchers’ new alerts are to be believed, the virus may be suspended through the ultrafine mist we remove as we exhale — in other words, an aerosol. A group of scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center who researched biological aerosols were able to identify coronavirus genomes from more than half of the aerosol samples they took from COVID-19 patients’ isolation rooms.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, sponsored by NIH, found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus could become an aerosol and remain airborne for up to three hours. This created a debate by the critics slamming the findings. They argued that it was because the research team used a medical tool called a nebulizer to intentionally create a viral nebula, and argued that this would not happen naturally, so there is no way coronavirus could spread through the air. Whereas on the other side, a china paper claimed that the source of the airborne coronavirus is the personal protective gear used by the healthcare workers. This team researched hospitals in Wuhan and identified two major places where the virus was aerosolized: patient toilets, and rooms where medical personnel discarded their protective equipment.
The WHO said in an analysis published on 29th March that transmission of aerosol was known to occur only during limited medical procedures that included breathing assistance.