Can COVID-19 remain in the air, after an infected person has passed?

Good news! COVID-19 is not transmitted by air.

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Good news! The World Health Organization had released a statement that COVID-19 is not transmitted by air. The only way the virus can remain in the air is in “respiratory droplets” – small particles of mucous or saliva emitted by a sneeze or cough.

Why is this good news? 

These “droplets” are heavier than air and therefore do not remain in the air for long periods. While we still need to keep our social-distance of over 1m, it does not seem that the coronavirus remains in the air for long periods. Additionally, it is almost certain that the contamination does not travel further distances than 1m through air.

Best practices remain the same

Wearing a mask when expecting exposure to other people is still a good practice, as is the very simply ritual of hand washing. The respiratory droplets do not remain in the air, but when they land on surfaces, they may still be infectious for a while. Touching these surfaces and then your face puts you in a high risk of infection – so wash your hands often to stay healthy!


Photo credit: Ivana Cajina

Reference: Modes of transmission of virus causing COVID-19: implications for IPC precaution recommendations, World Health Organization, 29th March 2020

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