Does COVID-19 spread through the air?

November 15, 2020

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The surprising presence of the COVID-19 virus has shaken us all up this year. Luckily, scientists are working hard to learn more about the virus, how it spreads, and how to stay safe. Recently it’s been discovered that COVID-19 might be spread through the air. Keep reading to learn more about how the virus works and how you can protect yourself from it.

COVID-19 is airborne

In early October 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention releases a statement revealing that the coronavirus can be spread through the air. Up until then, it was commonly believed that the virus could only be spread through person to person contact and respiratory droplets. However, scientists have since understood that tiny particles can remain suspended in the air for quite some time. If a person inhales those particles that contain the virus, this could lead to an infection.

Problems with an airborne virus

Knowing that the virus can be spread through the air means taking extra precautions when out in public. The CDC has indicated that these airborne particles containing the virus can actually travel further than the recommended 6 feet social distancing. These particles can go even further if a person is singing, coughing, or laughing. Even breathing normally in an indoor area with inadequate ventilation can create invisible clouds of the suspended virus in the air.

What is my risk?

Your risk of infection basically comes down to two factors: exposure and time. In other words, if you are in a place where there is a lot of the virus present, that means high exposure. If you are in that location for a long time, that will increase your risk. The highest risk comes from being in indoor areas that are crowded.

If you are in a place where there are fewer virus particles, and you are only there for a short time, you are much less likely to get infected by the virus. The lowest risk for infection will be outside, where the airborne particles containing the virus can scatter and dissipate much more quickly.

Stay informed

The best way to minimize your risk of catching the COVID-19 virus is to stay informed. Regularly check local health updates for new cautions and regulations. Continue to listen to public health officials and stay informed on any developments as scientists learn more about how the virus works.

What to do if you have symptoms

If you believe that COVID-19 may have found its way into your community or home, or if you’ve started showing symptoms, head over to a nearby urgent care center to see if a COVID-19 test is right for you.

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