New Study Of Incident Of COVID-19 Spread On Public Bus In China Offers Fresh Evidence That Novel Coronavirus Can Spread In The Air
A new study of COVID-19 spread
via airborne mode is published in the journal: JAMA Internal Medicine provides new evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can simply spread in the air. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2770172
In the incident in China, an infected individual on a poorly ventilated Chinese bus caused the COVID-19 spread to nearly two dozen other passengers even though many were not sitting close by according to the study team.
Chinese health authorities had initially discounted the possibility that simply breathing could send infectious micro-droplets into the air, but did a U-turn as experts piled on pressure and evidence mounted.
The new study probes the threat of airborne infection by taking a close look at passengers who made a 50-minute trip to a Buddhist event in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo aboard two buses in January before face masks became routine against the virus.
The study team believes a passenger, whose gender was not identified, was likely patient zero because the person had been in contact with people from Wuhan, the city where the contagion emerged late last year.
The researchers managed to map out where the other passengers sat, and also test them for the virus, with 23 of 68 passengers subsequently confirmed as infected on the same bus.
Significantly, what is notable is that the COVID-19 disease infected individuals in the front and back of the bus, outside the perimeter of 1-2 meters (three-six feet) that authorities and experts say infectious droplets can travel.
In addition to that, the sick passenger was asymptomatic ie was not yet showing symptoms of the disease, such as a cough, when the group made their trip to a religious event.
The study team also noted the air conditioning simply re-circulated the air inside the bus, which likely contributed to spreading of the virus.
Co-researcher Dr Changwei Li from the department of Epidemiology, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine-Louisiana told Thailand Medical News, "The investigations suggest that, in closed environments with air recirculation, SARS-CoV-2 is a highly transmissible pathogen they wrote, referring to the name of the virus.”
He added, "Our finding of potential airborne transmission has important public health significance."
The detailed research which includes a diagram showing where each infected passenger sat, adds to the evidence of airborne transmission, including research into how the virus spread between diners' tables at a restaurant in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
There is mounting evidence that the novel coronavirus can spread far distances in the air and can remain infectious in the air even after a few hours.