October 29, 2020

New research suggests COVID-19 can spread via aerosol transmission — and might affect tall people more

A new survey has found more evidence to suggest that people can become infected with COVID-19 through aerosol transmission, which could be prevented by wearing a mask.

Carried out by data scientists in the UK, Norway, and the US, the study is one of the first to investigate which personal and work-related factors can lead to COVID-19 transmission.

After surveying 2,000 people in the UK and US, the researchers found that the data from both countries suggests that aerosol transmission of the virus — via microdroplets which are so small that they remain suspended in the air for several hours — is very likely.

Moreover, they say that taller individuals appear to be at a higher risk. Individuals over 6ft tall seem to have more than double the chance of having a COVID-19 medical diagnosis or testing positive. The researchers said this suggests that aerosol transmission is very likely, as if COVID-19 transmission was solely due to droplets, which are bigger than aerosols and are thought to travel relatively short distances and drop quickly from the air, taller individuals would not be at higher risk. In contrast, aerosols can accumulate in poorly ventilated spaces and are carried by air currents.

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