- Coronavirus aerosol dispersion is a real risk, the World Health Organization said a few weeks ago after more than 200 researchers called on the WHO to acknowledge the problem. However, the organization argues that droplet transfer is the primary mode of COVID-19 spread.
- A new study focused on how COVID-19 moved in the confined space of the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which was quarantined in Japan in early February, and found that aerosol transfer could be worse than we thought.
- Research has looked at other studies that have shown that aerosol viruses can infect cells, and that have shown that taller people are infected twice as often.
The cruise ship Diamond Princess gained worldwide recognition in early February, when the Japanese authorities quarantined the ship in the port of Yokohama and looked for the ship̵7;s COVID-19 infection. Finally, 712 of the 3,711 passengers and crew on board were tested positive and 14 died at the time the diamond princess anchored. The ship was the subject of some studies because it believed that it offered researchers a unique insight into the behavior of the virus in a population that was limited to the ship for a few weeks.
Recent research could show that one of the worst things about the new coronavirus should be the real concern of authorities trying to reduce the incidence of COVID-19 outbreaks. This is aerosol transfer, a topic that is appearing more and more frequently on the COVID-19 server. The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged the risk of airborne COVID-19 spreading a few weeks ago, but still said that larger droplets of saliva that escaped during conversation, sneezing and coughing were the main way the virus spread. A new study by Diamond Princess says it can quantify aerosol transfer inside a cruise ship.
Researchers have recently shown that a virus that can float in aerosols can replicate once it reaches cells. This was a sign that the virus can survive in the air in those microdroplets that become aerosols after evaporation of water and float longer than larger droplets of saliva that can land on surfaces and humans. Another study suggested another unexpected conclusion. People 6 feet tall are twice as likely to be infected with the new coronavirus, and airborne transmission is the only type of transmission that can support this finding.
Researchers from Harvard and the Illinois Institute of Technology have teamed up to study a model to model COVID-19 transmission models on board a ship and conclude that aerosol transmission has played a significant role in the diamond princess coronavirus epidemic. The study was not reviewed, but was published online at medRxiv, through The New York Times.
The researchers performed more than 20,000 simulations that took into account various peculiarities of the Diamond Princess COVID-19 outbreak, including patterns of social interactions, the amount of time the virus can live on surfaces, the size of particles expelled from the human mouth and their behavior in the air.
More than 130 simulations yielded results similar to those that happened in real life on a ship. The researchers examined the most realistic scenarios to calculate the importance of different modes of virus transmission. They concluded that the smaller droplets were largely responsible for the spread of the virus on the cruise ship, representing 60% of new infections at short and long distances. Fomite transmission, or how the virus touches the same surfaces, played a minor role.
“A lot of people said there was an air transmission, but no one had the numbers,” said TH Chan Dr. Harhamard School of Public Health. Parham Azimi. “What is the benefit of these little droplets – is it 5 percent or 90 percent?” In this document, we present the first real estimates of what the number could be, at least for this cruise ship. “
Researchers have so far shown that aerosol transfer is a real thing for infectious diseases, including COVID-19, that viral aerosol loads are contagious, and that the spread of aerosols could have been a major driver of the Diamond Princess outbreak. Further research is required and studies should receive appropriate evaluation from other experts.
Separate research has shown that face masks could reduce droplets and aerosol transfer, whether surgical masks or multilayer upholstery. It is not clear how much virus would be enough to infect a person. But aerosols could help the pathogen get into the lower airways faster than drops. It is in the lungs where the virus can multiply at a devastating rate and cause several life-threatening complications.
Researchers believe that a study on the transfer of diamonds princess could help officials create new measures that could be used in indoor conditions, such as at school. The easiest way is to “really push for a mask policy,” says Professor Brent Stephens of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Proper masks should also be used to reduce the spread of aerosols.
Ventilation changes may also be required to improve indoor safety. The diamond princess did not recirculate the air and was well ventilated, but this did not prevent the virus from spreading.
Not all scientists agree that aerosol transfer may be the main driving force behind the spread of COVID-19, and times’ coverage is worth reading for more opinions on the matter. Although the spread of the aerosol poses only a minimal risk, health officials should consider measures to reduce this route of transmission.