Transmission of COVID-19 virus by droplets and aerosols: A critical review on the unresolved dichotomy

Environ Res. 2020 Sep;188:109819. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109819. Epub 2020 Jun 13.

Abstract

The practice of social distancing and wearing masks has been popular worldwide in combating the contraction of COVID-19. Undeniably, although such practices help control the COVID-19 pandemic to a greater extent, the complete control of virus-laden droplet and aerosol transmission by such practices is poorly understood. This review paper intends to outline the literature concerning the transmission of virus-laden droplets and aerosols in different environmental settings and demonstrates the behavior of droplets and aerosols resulted from a cough-jet of an infected person in various confined spaces. The case studies that have come out in different countries have, with prima facie evidence, manifested that the airborne transmission plays a profound role in contracting susceptible hosts. The infection propensities in confined spaces (airplane, passenger car, and healthcare center) by the transmission of droplets and aerosols under varying ventilation conditions were discussed. Interestingly, the nosocomial transmission by airborne SARS-CoV-2 virus-laden aerosols in healthcare facilities may be plausible. Hence, clearly defined, science-based administrative, clinical, and physical measures are of paramount importance to eradicate the COVID-19 pandemic from the world.

Keywords: Airborne transmission; Coronavirus; Lockdown; Masks; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • Coronavirus Infections*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral*

Substances

  • Aerosols

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2