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COVID-19 Are the droplets somewhat airborne? Conflicting reports

Disasters   (557 Views | 5 Replies)
by Pete W. Pete W. (New) New Student

Pete W. has 1 years experience .

45 Profile Views; 11 Posts

There are conflicting reports.  The CDC doesn't say it's airborne yet there was some Chinese research that says it is.  
Bill DiBlasio in his latest update said that if someone infected is in a room and leaves the virus is not going to be in the air.
But I noticed how he said an hour.  What about 2 minutes? What about 10 minutes.
Can the droplets be semi-airborne.
Somebody gets on a small elevator whose infected and is coughing. Then they leave.
A minute later you walk in and there's no one in there.  Could you get it from the air?
It seems to be unknown.   Yes most of those cough droplets fell to the floor (or wall)
but are there some tinier ones still in the air for a minuter or two?

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NRSKarenRN has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

5 Followers; 10 Articles; 14,758 Posts; 163,319 Profile Views

CDC COVID 19https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings


Mode of transmission: Early reports suggest person-to-person transmission most commonly happens during close exposure to a person infected with COVID-19, primarily via respiratory droplets produced when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Droplets can land in the mouths, noses, or eyes of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs of those within close proximity. The contribution of small respirable particles, sometimes called aerosols or droplet nuclei, to close proximity transmission is currently uncertain. However, airborne transmission from person-to-person over long distances is unlikely


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MunoRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

3 Followers; 6,592 Posts; 68,132 Profile Views

There's been no reason to believe that COVID-19 spreads through airborne transmission rather than droplet, and while this variant is new, the coronavirus itself is not and it's transmission characteristics are already fairly well understood.  "Airborne" transmission refers to pathogens where it can remain in the air in a viable form for many hours to even days. 

Coronavirus can spread through the air, potentially farther than the typical 6 feet of droplet transmission given the right circumstances of droplet formation and airflow, but that is significantly different than airborne transmission.

Some confusion seems to come from the CDCs recommendation to incorporate some aspects of airborne precautions due since basic droplet precautions don't actually comprehensively stop the transmission of droplet pathogens, they're just mostly effective, and given the impact of this particular pathogen there's sufficient reason try and close the gaps that droplet precautions leave.  

While it's certainly important to protect against the spread of person-to-person transmission through the air, I think the focus on that lets people forget that transmission through surface vectors is probably far more common in the community.  

Edited by MunoRN

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244 Posts; 1,345 Profile Views

Since we're not testing everyone... does administering a nebulizer treatment in the clinic cause airborne transmission? Should one be wearing a N95 mask when entering the room? 

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FacultyRN has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN.

116 Posts; 812 Profile Views

I read something posted online by a pediatrician last night that said the airborne half life is 2.7 hours.

Now, I have no idea of his source or if it's accurate.  

Something else I read from some govt source that I don't remember said likely airborne, but not to the extent of TB or varicella. 

I do know this though. If there wasn't a degree of suspected airborne transmission, hospitals wouldn't be requiring N95 masks at $10 or more a pop to care for COVID-19 patients. 

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