Several doctors have been warning people about the airborne transmission of COVID-19. But what does this mean? Can people get infected with droplets floating in the air if they walk out of the house, even with masks on?
Dr. Alma O. Reyes-Addatu, an infectious diseases specialist, said that people should not be worried about viral contamination if they are practicing physical distancing and other safety precautions.
Some people have grown concerned that the droplets floating in the air might cling to hair and clothing, but Dr. Reyes-Addatu allayed such fears.
“We should not be worried about viral contamination on our hair or beard if we are practicing social distancing,” she said. “Even if someone sneezed on the back of your head, any droplets that landed on your hair would be an unlikely source of infection. As we move, we push air out of the way, and most of the droplets and particles get pushed out of the way too.”
The same can be said about clothes. Even if the virus lands on pieces of clothing, doing routine laundry will be enough to keep the virus at bay. “Washing clothes in regular detergent is more than enough to remove the virus,” she said. “Remember, simple proper handwashing can help stop the spread of the virus.”
Some people have also asked if the virus can be spread through food. But Addatu answered, “To date, there have not been any reports of transmission of SARS-COV-2 virus through food.”
However, she still cautioned those who are in the food business to be extra careful with what they serve. “People preparing food are advised to wear cloth face coverings,” she said.
Addatu reminded people that the spread is more common in indoor settings with poor ventilation, so people should be careful not to stay in crowded places. People should stay at least one meter apart. Addatu said this distance is “protective,” but at least six feet or 1.8 meters is preferred.
Masks should stay on in public places or when in the presence of others, and frequent hand-washing is a must. At the same time, people must be mindful of respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.