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Viruses of the future: the future is aerosol transmission

Viruses of the future: the future is aerosol transmission

reminder. We consider traditional that the diameter of the “drop” is more than 100 micrometers (1 micrometer = 1 thousandth of a millimeter), but the characteristic that has become more important this year is the drop that someone expects to sneeze, sing or talk, obey the laws of gravity and quickly fall to the ground – hence the The recommended distance of 2 meters between two people. Whereas, aerosols, due to their low mass and air resistance, can “float” for a longer time – hence the dangers, often repeated this year, for poorly ventilated rooms (for more details see this text).

However, in a A review of the published literature August 27 in ScienceHowever, the authors broadly assert that it is not just the coronavirus. In light of what we have learned over the past year and a half, “Further studies are needed for respiratory diseases whose transmission has so far been characterized by droplets, because it is plausible that aerosol transmission is significant, or even dominant.”

In fact, they recall, it has been nearly 100 years since it was assumed that viruses are transmitted primarily within droplets that an infected person is alerted to, and they reach the eyes or respiratory tract of another person (through their hands, for example). . Aerosol transport, for its part, includes “particles” that remain longer in room air, which are directly inhaled by that other person: or, It was necessary to wait Tuberculosis in the early 1960s to accept for the first time that aerosol transmission has been demonstrated.

A parallel can also be drawn, Summarize on Twitter Jose Luis Jimenez, a co-author from the University of Colorado, between the slowness to accept aerosol transmission in the 20th century, and the slowness to accept such transmission in the novel coronavirus in 2020.

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Expanding this definition to include many respiratory viruses, including influenza viruses, appears to make virus transmission more concerning. But at the same time, it is allowed pointing fingers Strategies that have already been shown to reduce the risk of transmission – the seven authors also conducted their literature review on these strategies.

The most common So is the room ventilation. However, although much has been said about the classrooms for over a year, it seems that “airy” rooms are more rare than we can imagine, for example in gyms or restaurants. Thus, ventilation is at the top of the list of preferred tools, but mask-wearing is also becoming increasingly important in areas “at risk” of transmission of the virus, as is the use of air filters when the situation permits. On the other handIf aerosols are seen as a greater danger, washing hands and surfaces will suddenly become much less important…