Tuesday, August 25, 2020

COVID-19 aerosol transmission must be addressed

There are three kinds of coronavirus transmission: "The first is through “fomites,” objects that are contaminated with the virus (which could include someone else’s skin)." The second "is through droplets, small bits of saliva or respiratory fluid that infected individuals expel when they cough, sneeze, or talk." The latter is the major source according to WHO and the CDC, but in this case the droplets fall to the ground after traveling 3 to 6 feet.

The above droplets are only important when coughing and sneezing. However, more important is the third pathway which is aerosols. Here is Jimenez's assessment...
“'Aerosol' (sometimes referred to as 'airborne') transmission is similar to droplet transmission, except that the bits of fluid are so small that they can linger in the air for minutes to hours."
Both "WHO and CDC both state that aerosols could lead to transmission under highly specific situations, both organizations maintain that they are less important." Professor Jimenez disagrees...
"I believe this is a significant mistake and on July 6 I, along with 239 scientists, appealed to the WHO to reevaluate their stance. WHO updated its position in response, but the agency’s language continues to express skepticism of the importance of this pathway."
Even considering WHO's and the CDC's position on aerosols...
"just a few diseases, including measles and chickenpox, have been accepted as being transmitted through aerosols—and only because these are so transmissible that the evidence could not be ignored by the medical community."
Here is an excellent illustration...
"it is useful to use cigarette or vaping smoke (which is also an aerosol) as an analog. Imagine sharing a home with a smoker: if you stood close to the smoker while talking, you would inhale a great deal of smoke. Replace the smoke with virus-containing aerosols, which behave very similarly, and the impact is similar: the closer you are to someone releasing virus-carrying aerosols, the more likely you are to breathe in larger amounts of virus."
Jimenez describes it like "cannonballs" flying from someone's mouth that "travel through the air until they either hit something (worst case someone else’s eyes, mouth or nostrils) or fall to the ground." That is not a good scenario but is just yet another mandate for masks and social distancing that, while not guaranteed, are proven to cut back the transmission of COVID-19 significantly. This is an excellent article you can read here.


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