- The spread of the coronavirus aerosol is a real risk, the World Health Organization said a few weeks ago after more than 200 researchers urged the WHO to recognize the issue. But the organization argues that droplet transmission is the main way COVID-19 is spreading.
- A new study looked at how COVID-19 progressed inside the closed environment of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in quarantine in Japan in early February, which found that aerosol transmission could be a worse phenomenon. than we thought.
- Research follows other studies that have shown that the virus from aerosols can infect cells, and that have shown taller people are twice as likely to be infected.
The cruise ship Diamond Princess gained world fame in early February when Japanese authorities quarantined the boat in the Port of Yokohama looking to contain the COVID-19 infection aboard the ship. Eventually, 712 of the 3,711 passengers and crew on board tested positive, and 14 died when the Diamond Princess Shore. The ship has been the subject of some studies, considering that it offered researchers a unique view of the virus’s behavior within a population that was limited to the ship for several weeks.
The latest research may prove that one of the worst things about the new coronavirus should be a real worry for authorities looking to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. That’s aerosol transmission, a topic that continues to emerge in COVID-19 more and more often. The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the air a few weeks ago but still argued that larger saliva drops drawn during speech, sneezing and coughing are the way to go. key how the virus spreads. Diamond Princess ’new study says it can quantify the aerosol transmission inside the cruise ship.
Researchers have recently proven that the virus that can float the aerosol can replicate once it reaches the cells. This was an indication that the virus could live in the air in those microdroplets that become aerosols after the water evaporates, and rises longer than the larger saliva droplets that can land on the surface. faces and people. A different study proposed another unexpected conclusion. People who are 6 feet tall are twice as likely to be infected with the new coronavirus, and spread in the air is the only type of transmission that can support the finding.
Researchers from Harvard and the Illinois Institute of Technology teamed up for a study that attempted to model COVID-19 transmission models on board the ship and concluded that aerosol transmission played a significant role. in the Diamond Princess coronavirus epidemic. The study was not peer-reviewed, but was published online medRxiv, through The New York Times.
The researchers conducted 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, id the size of particles cut out of a person’s mouth and their behavior in the air.
More than 130 simulations gave similar results to what happened in real life aboard the ship. The researchers looked at the most “realistic” scenarios to calculate the importance of the various modes of viral transmission. They concluded that the small droplets were mainly responsible for the spread of the virus on the cruise ship, accounting for 60% of new infections both in the near range and at greater distances. Fomite transmission, or preventing the virus from touching the same surfaces, played a smaller role.
“A lot of people have argued that airborne transmission is happening, but no one had numbers for it,” said TH Chan Harvard School of Public Health, Parham Azimi. “What is the contribution from these small drops – is it 5 percent, or 90 percent? In this paper, we provide the first real estimates for what that number might be, at least in the case of this cruise ship. “
So far, researchers have shown that aerosol transmission is true for infectious diseases, including COVID-19, that aerosol viral loads are contagious, and that the spread of the aerosol may have been the main engine of the Diamond Princess outbreak. More research is needed, and studies should receive appropriate reviews from other experts.
Separate research has shown that facial masks can reduce aerosol droplets and transmission, whether they are surgical masks or multi-level fabric covers. It is not clear how much virus will be enough to infect a person. But aerosols can help the pathogen reach the lower airways faster than droplets. It is in the lungs where the virus can multiply at a destructive rate and cause various life-threatening complications.
Researchers think the Diamond Princess transmission study could help officers form new measures that could be applied to indoor conditions, such as school. The simplest is to “really enforce mask politics,” according to Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago professor Brent Stephens. Appropriate masks should also be used to reduce spread by aerosols.
Changes in ventilation may also be needed to improve the safety of indoor spaces. The Diamond Princess did not circulate the air and was well ventilated, but this did not stop the virus from spreading.
Not all scientists agree that aerosol transmission may be the primary driver of COVID-19 spread, and The Times’ it is good to read coverage for more opinions on the issue. But even if the spread of the aerosol is only a minimal risk, health officials should consider measures to reduce this means of transmission.