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The coronavirus is in the air: What it means.

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Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Andrey Zhuravlev / iStock / Getty Images Plus.

In the US, COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire. At the same time, the research community is learning more and more about how the coronavirus gets from one person to another. There are many shades we don’t know all about yet. But we are in need and we have the facts. The public should be warned, clearly and often, to help break through the noise: The coronavirus is in the air.

Scientists and doctors have spent months urging a medical facility to develop reports on ways to spread COVID-19. At first, many experts thought that the virus spread mainly through large droplets, such as those that fly out of your mouth and fall to the ground within a few meters, especially when coughing. Then it was clear that people without coughs or other symptoms could spread the virus – and in many cases it did -. In a letter dated April 1 to the White House, the National Academy of Sciences raised concerns about the risk of spreading the coronavirus through small droplets that could accumulate around the conversation and even during normal breathing. Two days later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people wear “face masks” on their mouths and noses if they so wished. In early July, 239 scientists called on the World Health Organization to finally recognize the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19. The WHO now recognizes that coronavirus-bearing droplets may remain suspended in the air in crowded interiors, but its messaging tends to carry the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the air as a result. For example, the WHO questions page gives the impression that if we are all about 3 feet apart, the distance they recommend, and be careful to wash our hands, everything will be fine.

Will not be. An updated message that must reach people is: In addition to visible transmission pathways, such as coughing or touching the surface and then your face, COVID-19 can spread through the air we breathe, especially indoors. Or in short: The coronavirus is in the air. Do it again. Tell your friends and family. We should hear it on the radio and podcasts, see it on PSA on TV and on YouTube. It should be written on the little signs that we have to go through when we get carefully into grocery stores. While we don’t have to worry about infectious clouds of coronavirus roaming the open beach – the outside is quite safe if you can stay away – we really have to worry about encountering the virus wherever people are in poorly ventilated areas because coronavirus is really airy. The report must break through the noise of the world, which produces about 350,000 tweets every minute, in which knowledge of a human pandemic varies depending on their preferred source of news, and where a third of Americans do not wear facials to stores all the time. and other businesses.

A big part of the problems with reporting can be that the word “on the air” means different things to professionals in different fields. In aerosol science, “airborne” can describe particles that are carried by air currents. In “air” medicine, it triggers a set of specific disease control measures suitable for patients with tuberculosis or smallpox, such as isolating patients in special rooms with negative air pressure. As a scientist, I can deal with the specialized nature of this concept, but as part of the general public who want to avoid the COVID-19 virus, I don’t care if one virus can be infectious in the air for about 30 minutes (which is an estimate of SARS-CoV). -2) and another virus that can be infectious in air for two hours (measles virus case) are referred to as airborne. It’s a question of degree. It matters to me that if I am in the same room as a person infected with the COVID-19 virus and are constantly singing, shouting, talking or even simply breathing, SARS-CoV-2 virus particles are transmitted in small drops. carried away by the air, which could potentially infect me. That seems to be true, even though I’m more than six feet away, if I’m standing in a room that’s not ventilated for a while – say, a dive bar. It will probably worry me if I ring in my head that the coronavirus is in the air.

“The coronavirus is in the air” – this statement is unpleasant. It states that something harmful can occur, even if it cannot be seen with the naked eye or felt on the skin. Many people have already heard the phrase “it’s in the air” in the context of Outbreak magazine, Dustin Hoffman’s 1995 thriller (and the fifth most popular Netflix movie in March!). It already connects it with a life-threatening disease. A brief warning can be repeated, which is a key tactic in spreading the idea. Most importantly, the “coronavirus is in the air” provides direct support for preventive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as keeping at least six feet away from people who are not in your home, wearing a face mask over your nose and when they are in public, spend a minimum of time indoors that are not your home and improve ventilation in buildings. (Surface transmission may be less common, but yes, it is still important to wash your hands with soap and water.) If you will be indoors for a long time with people from different households – such as school – you need to take care of the chance that someone with the infection exists, it was very low.

No time to waste. COVID-19 has already killed more than 674,000 people, including more than 152,000 Americans. The failures of government, the private sector, international bodies and, ultimately, were beyond the control of many individuals. However, experts responding to the COVID-19 conference can control how they communicate with the public. While the scientific and technical nuances of the COVID-19 are absolutely critical, a pandemic is a crisis, and now is definitely not the time to finish, to be an enemy of good, life-saving statements. Involvement and clarity should be preferred when communicating with the public, so that people are more likely to take effective protective measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Tell me: The coronavirus is in the air. The coronavirus is in the air. The coronavirus is in the air.

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