Modes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and evidence for preventive behavioral interventions

BMC Infect Dis. 2021 May 28;21(1):496. doi: 10.1186/s12879-021-06222-4.


COVID-19 is a novel disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. During the global vaccination rollout, it is vital to thoroughly understand the modes of transmission of the virus in order to prevent further spread of variants and ultimately to end the pandemic. The current literature suggests that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted among the human population primarily through respiratory droplets and, to a lesser extent, via aerosols. Transmission appears to be affected by temperature, humidity, precipitation, air currents, pH, and radiation in the ambient environment. Finally, the use of masks or facial coverings, social distancing, and hand washing are effective public health strategies in reducing the risk of exposure and transmission. Additional research is needed to further characterize the relative benefits of specific nonpharmaceutical interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / transmission*
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Public Health
  • Vaccination