Why It Issues That Well being Businesses Lastly Mentioned the Coronavirus Is Airborne

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  • NATIONAL UNIV. FROM SINGAPORE
  • Using a device that captures aerosols and droplets from a person’s breath, scientists showed that the coronavirus may evolve to make it easier to spread through the air.

This year, health experts around the world revised their views on the spread of the coronavirus. Aerosol scientists, virologists, and other researchers had discovered the virus could spread through the air in 2020, but it wasn’t until 2021 for well-known health authorities to acknowledge it. The inclusion could have far-reaching consequences for everything from public health recommendations to building regulations to minstrel exercises (SN: 08/14/21, p. 24).

For decades, doctors and many researchers thought that respiratory viruses such as cold and flu viruses were mainly spread by people touching surfaces contaminated with mucus droplets and then touching their face. That’s why disinfectant wipes flew off store shelves in the early days of the pandemic.

Face-to-face transmission is still a likely route of infection for some cold viruses, such as the Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV. However, it turns out that the coronavirus mainly spreads through fine aerosol particles that can hang in the air for hours, especially indoors.

People spread such aerosols when they cough or sneeze, but also when they speak, sing, shout and even breathe softly, so that infected people can spread the disease before they even know they are sick. Some evidence suggests that the coronavirus may develop to spread more easily through the air (SN: 09/25/21, p. 6).

It took massive data gathering and more than 200 scientists urging the World Health Organization and other public health agencies to acknowledge the spread of the coronavirus in the air. In April 2021, both WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their recommendations to indicate that airborne spread is an important route of infection (SN Online: 05/18/21).

This recognition was crucial for the public understanding of why it is necessary to wear well-fitting masks in public indoor spaces (SN: 13.03.21, p. 14; SN Online: 27.07.21). Masking, social distancing and other measures to protect against the coronavirus are also blamed for the fact that the flu was almost eradicated last winter (SN Online: 02/02/21). Experts fear a flare-up of colds and flu this winter if these measures are not continued (SN Online: 08/12/21).

Knowing that COVID-19 is an airborne disease has led to measures such as rearranging the seating arrangements in orchestras (SN Online: 6/23/21) and updating recommendations for proper ventilation and filtration in buildings. Some scientists and activists have also suggested regulating indoor air safety to reduce the spread of disease, much like food and drinking water safety standards.

Originally published by Science News, a non-profit newsroom. Published here again with permission.

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