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Source: The Scientist -   Feb 21 2020

How COVID 19 is spread! 

By Catherine Offord


The main route of transmission for COVID-19

Like the flu, COVID-19 is spread primarily via respiratory droplets—little blobs of liquid released as someone coughs, sneezes, or talks. Viruses contained in these droplets can infect other people via the eyes, nose, or mouth—either when they land directly on somebody’s face or when they’re transferred there by people touching their face with contaminated hands.

Because respiratory droplets are too heavy to remain suspended in the air, direct person-to-person transmission normally only happens when people are in close contact—within about six feet of each other, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It could also occur in a medical setting, if someone has to handle respiratory secretions such as saliva or mucus from an infected person.

People should be taking the same precautions that they would anyway during flu season.

—Elizabeth McGraw, Penn State University

Initial reports from China state that the majority of transmissions have occurred either among family members or between patients and health workers, says David Heymann, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who led the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global response to the SARS outbreak in 2003.

It might also be possible for the virus to be transferred via surfaces contaminated by respiratory droplets or other secretions from an infected person, notes Elizabeth McGraw, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State University. A paper published in The Journal of Hospital Infection earlier this month by researchers in Germany concluded that, based on previous studies of viruses such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, at least some human coronaviruses could remain infective on materials such as metal, glass, or plastic for up to nine days. Ethanol or hydrogen peroxide solutions disinfected the surfaces within one minute, the researchers note in their paper.

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