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The authors highlight their concern of the increased presence of airborne respiratory droplets with SARS-CoV-2 in poorly ventilated spaces leading to an increased risk of viral transmission. The authors highlight data from a study in which they analyzed the airborne time of the respiratory droplets in relation to the level of air ventilation.
Using the data from their study, the authors urge public health officials to recommend avoiding poorly ventilated public spaces.
– Morgan Soffler, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Globally, health-care authorities are searching for effective measures to prevent community transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Although data on factors related to this transmission are scarce, the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is thought to mostly be via the transmission of respiratory droplets coming from infected individuals.1 Small droplets, from submicron to approximately 10 μm diameter, produced during speech and coughing, have been shown to contain viral particles,2 which can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for 3 h.3 The droplets can be transmitted either directly by entering the airway through the air (aerosols),4 or indirectly by contact transfer via contaminated hands. The mode of transmission could affect whether an infection starts in the upper or lower respiratory tract, which is thought to affect the severity of the disease progression.5 Notably, the dose–response relationship of SARS-CoV-2 infection is still unclear, especially with respect to aerosol transmission of the virus. However, aerosols containing a small concentration of virus in poorly ventilated spaces, combined with low humidity and high temperature,6 might result in an infectious dose over time.