Unfortunately, there is still a lot that we don’t know about COVID-19 and what activities and places pose the biggest risk. But, as time passes, we are learning more and the research and examples of how other countries are dealing with this crisis are helping us to stay informed.
Three Ways The Virus Infects People
What we do know is the three ways in which the virus is transmitted from one person to another, which are:
- Respiratory Transmission
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus and, that means, it is mainly transmitted between people through respiratory droplets. Basically, when people sneeze or cough. It’s believed that these kinds of large droplets of virus ‘mucus’ are the main way the virus is spread. This is why the CDC advises the social distance of 6-feet.
We do, however, need to remember that this 6-foot distance isn’t a magic number. If you are in contact with a COVID-19 carrier, regardless of keeping a 6-foot distance, you will be at risk of infection. Because, well, every circumstance is different and airflow conditions might just bring that mucus straight to you.
Another thing which is confusing is the fact that if 25% of the virus is being transmitted by people that are asymptomatic, how is the virus being spread? It seems coughs and sneezes are not the only way this virus is transmitted.
- Aerosol Transmission
For the virus to be transmitted without being coughed or sneezed then it is, somehow, being suspended in the air through small aerosols which then travel by air currents. And, the worrying thing is, research says that these aerosolized virus particles can remain viable for up to three hours.
So that means we can be infected just by talking to one another. Some people may spit when talking and these droplets are not only traveling through the air but being deposited on surfaces too.
- Contact Transmission
The other transmission spreader is through contact. So, when viral particles of an infected person land on a surface and someone else touches this surface and they then touch their nose, mouth, or eyes, well, that’s how the virus can get in. It is able to enter the body via the mucous membranes, infecting a healthy person.
Research isn’t clear as to how common this is but it is thought that this virus, as with SARS-CoV-2, could remain on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic and steel for two to three days.
Where Are The Most Likely Places To Get Sick?
Since we’re all staying at home as much as possible it seems strange that, apparently, most people are getting infected in their own homes. But, this is due to the fact that at least one of your family members will be going out into the community to get errands done or possibly go to work. They then bring it back home, which leads to infection of the entire household.
But where are people contracting the infection when they are out and about?
- Bathrooms: These have many high-touch areas, so contact transmission is high here. Plus, flushing a toilet aerosolizes many droplets. If you can, stay away from public bathrooms, and if you do have to go in, be extra cautious.
- Restaurants: While at a restaurant an infected person will emit low-levels of the virus into the air from breathing, and this is a problem because of airflow within a restaurant. So depending on where you are seated and how the vents channel the air, you may come in contact with virus aerosols while enjoying your favorite meal out.
- Workplaces: Again, similar to within a restaurant, being exposed to virus aerosols over a long time, especially when airflow is directed in a specific way to pass over you, your chances are very high with regards to contracting the virus. There is also a high risk of contact transmission within the workplace, with many high-touch areas being shared.
- Group events – choir, indoor sports, parties: Sport and singing require a lot of heavy breathing, and singing facilitates respiratory droplets getting deep into the lungs and it also aerosolizes respiratory droplets really well. Parties and funerals usually result in a lot of shared food, cutlery, crockery, and close contact with others over a couple of hours. This results in a high chance of continued aerosol and contact transmission.
Basically, as we are starting to slowly come out of quarantine we will be in contact with more people and start going to more places, which will increase our risk of infection. So, do your part to keep your aerosols to yourself by wearing a mask, and make sure to wash your hands regularly as you come into contact with many more shared surfaces. It’s the right thing to do.
If you need to reopen your workplace, why not use Restoration 1’s professional cleaning services before opening the doors? This will ensure your workplace is hygienic and safe for all employees and customers. Restoration 1 offers virus and disease clean-up services and will get you started on the road to a healthy workplace. You focus on work, we’ll focus on the cleaning.
When it comes to virus disinfection, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Visit our website, or learn more about our professional services here.
To find out more about COVID-19 and for the most up-to-date news, visit www.who.int.
*Cleaning and decontamination services effectively address immediate conditions, but no chemical or process eliminates 100% of all organisms.