Covid-19 spread 1,000 times more likely by air than surface, says new study

Published on: 5 May 2022, 22:38 pm IST
As the Covid-19 spread continues, a University of Michigan study has deduced that the virus is more likely to move via air than surface.
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Covid-19 is still in the air! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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If you’re still hyper about wiping or sanitizing door knobs, switches, tables, groceries and more due to the Covid-19 fear, take a chill pill! A new study by the University of Michigan indicates that the incidence of Covid-19 transmission is 1,000 times more from the air you breathe rather from surfaces that you may touch.

The study comes at a time when India is at the brink of the Covid-19 fourth wave scare.

Covid-19 spread by air or surface?

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health looked at public spaces on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus, including classrooms, rehearsal rooms, cafeterias, buses, gyms, student activity buildings, and ventilation and air ducts, for the two-year study, according to the official website.

The risk of surface transmission of Covid-19 was 1,000 times lower than airborne transmission, says Chuanwu Xi, professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Global Public Health at Michigan Public Health.

“Considering the recurring epidemics caused by respiratory infectious diseases in recent years, our study reinforces the relevance of integrating multiple environmental surveillance methods for modeling and risk assessment.”

Rick Neitzel, professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Global Public Health at Michigan Public Health, said the study’s are a valuable addition to the understanding of infectious diseases and mitigation efforts during this pandemic. “It can help prepare us for future outbreaks of respiratory diseases with similar transmission mechanisms,” he added.

Contaminated surfaces have a lower Covid-19 transmission risk. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What does WHO say about Covid-19 spread?

While there is ongoing research to understand the spread of Covid-19 and its multiple variants, the World Health Organization (WHO) points out various ways in which this virus can be transmitted:

1. Close contact

People who are at a conversational distance are at a risk of Covid-19 from one another. Covid-19 infected particles passed through air – via the mouth or nose – can be inhaled at a short range.

2. Indoor settings

The Covid-19 virus can spread faster in indoor places which may be crowded or have poor ventilation.

3. Touch

The infection may come by touching eyes, nose or mouth after touching surfaces that may have been contaminated by the virus.

Don’t step out without a mask. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

People should follow basic safety protocols to safeguard themselves from the Covid-19 virus. Mask up, and practice social distancing!

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