- The spread of aerosol coronaviruses is a real risk, the World Health Organization said a few weeks ago after more than 200 researchers called on the WHO to recognize the issue. But the organization claims that the transfer of droplets is the main way to spread COVID-19.
- A new study looked at how COVID-19 moved indoors on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Japan in early February, finding that aerosol transfer could be worse than we thought.
- The study follows other studies that a proven aerosol virus can infect cells, and it has shown that growing people are twice as likely to become infected.
The cruise ship “Diamond Princess”; gained worldwide fame in early February, when Japanese authorities quarantined a boat in the port of Yokohama, seeking to detain on board the infection COVID-19. Eventually, 712 of the 3,711 passengers and crew on board tested positive, and 14 died by the time Diana Princess docked. The ship has been the subject of some research, given that it offered researchers a unique look at the behavior of the virus within a population that was restricted by the ship for several weeks.
Recent research may suggest that one of the worst things about the new coronavirus should be a real concern for authorities seeking to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. This is an aerosol transfer – a topic that appears more and more often in COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the risk of COVID-19 spreading through the air a few weeks ago, but still claims that large drops of saliva ejected during conversation, sneezing and coughing are the main way the virus spreads. A new study by Diamond Princess says it can quantify the aerosol transfer inside a cruise ship.
Researchers have recently shown that a virus that can float in aerosols can replicate once it enters cells. This was an indication that the virus could survive in the air in those microdroplets, which after evaporation of water become aerosols, and float longer than large drops of saliva that can land on the surface and people. Another study suggested another unexpected finding. 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 confirm the finding.
Researchers from Harvard and the Illinois Institute of Technology teamed up to study models of COVID-19 transmission on board the ship and concluded that aerosol transmission plays a significant role in the Diamond Princess coronavirus epidemic. The study was not reviewed, but it was published on the Internet medRxiv, through New York Times.
The researchers conducted more than 20,000 simulations that took into account various features of the COVID-19 Diamond Princess outbreak, including patterns of social interactions, the amount of time the virus can live on the surface, the size of particles ejected from human mouths, and their behavior in the air.
More than 130 simulations gave results similar to what was in real life aboard the ship. Researchers have considered the most “realistic” scenarios for calculating the importance of different ways of transmitting the virus. They concluded that the smaller droplets were responsible for the spread of the virus on the cruise ship, which is 60% of new infections both at close range and at a greater distance. Transmission of Fomit or receipt of the virus by touching the same surfaces played a smaller role.
“Many people have claimed that airborne transmission occurs, but no one has had it,” said Dr. Parkham Azimi of TN Chan’s Harvard School. “What contribution from these little drops is 5 percent, or 90 percent? In this paper, we provide the first realistic estimates of what this number may be, at least in the case of this cruise ship.
So far, researchers have shown that aerosol transmission is a real thing for infectious diseases, including COVID-19, that aerosol viral loads are contagious, and that aerosol spread may have been the main driver of the Diamond Princess outbreak. More research is needed, and research should receive appropriate feedback from other experts.
Some studies have shown that face masks can reduce droplets and aerosol transfer, whether surgical masks or multi-layered home tissue covers. It is unclear how much of the virus will be enough to infect humans. But aerosols can help the pathogen reach the lower respiratory tract faster than drops. This is in the lungs, where the virus can multiply at a devastating rate and cause several life-threatening complications.
Researchers believe that the study of the program “Diamond Princess” may help officials to form new measures that can be applied to the premises, for example, at school. The simplest is to “actually apply the policy of masks,” according to Brent Stevens, a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Proper masks should also be used to reduce aerosol spread.
Ventilation changes may also be required to increase indoor safety. The diamond princess did not recirculate 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 main driver of the spread of COVID-19, and Hours’ coverage is worth reading to get more opinions on the subject. But even if the spread of the aerosol is only a minimal risk, health officials should consider measures to reduce this route of transmission.