A new study published in the journal Nature Research has found that Coronavirus appears to linger in the air in crowded spaces or rooms that lack ventilation.
The study carried out at two hospitals in Wuhan, China, found that COVID-19 can spread through tiny airborne particles known as aerosols.
The researchers explained how they found bits of the virus’ genetic material in an indoor space housing large crowds, floating in the air of hospital toilets, and rooms where medical staff take off protective gear.
The World Health Organization(WHO) has said the risk of the virus spreading through the air has been a matter of debate and is limited to specific circumstances.
WHO says an analysis of more than 75,000 cases in China showed no airborne transmission.
According to scientists humans produce two types of droplets when they breathe, cough or talk – The large droplets and the small ones.
Larger droplets drop to the ground before they evaporate, causing contamination through the objects on which they settle. Smaller ones which are the ones that make up aerosols can hang in the air for hours.
The study led by Ke Lan of Wuhan University, found few aerosols in patient wards, supermarkets and residential buildings after they set up aerosol traps in and around two hospitals in the city of Wuhan.
The researchers discovered that many more COVID-19 pathogens were detected in toilets and two areas that had large crowds passing through, including an indoor space near one of the hospitals.
“High concentrations of the virus appeared in the rooms where medical staff kept protective equipment, which may suggest that particles contaminating their gear became airborne again when masks, gloves and gowns are removed”, they stated.
According to the scientists, the study highlights the importance of ventilation, limiting crowds and careful sanitation efforts.
The takeaway from the study is that the use of face masks and gloves cannot be over emphasized as Lagos, Ogun and FCT workers are about to resume work on 4 May, 2020.