May 8, 2021

Droplet vs Airborne Transmission warning

Le reddit silver member wrote about the droplet vs airborne transmission covid-19

The attention span of people these days is crazy. People have almost completely stopped caring about this just because it’s moving too slowly in our countries. Just because it didn’t peak here in 5 days and didn’t shut down major cities than people have moved on.

They just cannot even think 8 weeks into the future, it’s has to happen now or people don’t care. Even if this turn out to be nothing I’m going to keep collecting MRE’s and other supplies from here on out. Seeing the corruption of WHO and governments putting the stock market a head of human lives is scary. People put way to much trust into the government and think the government will always be there to protect them from things like this.

Controversy around airborne versus droplet transmission of respiratory viruses: implication for infection prevention.



Health agencies recommend transmission-based precautions, including contact, droplet and airborne precautions, to mitigate transmission of respiratory viruses in healthcare settings. There is particular controversy over the importance of aerosol transmission and whether airborne precautions should be recommended for some respiratory viruses. Here, we review the current recommendations of transmission-based precautions and the latest evidence on the aerosol transmission of respiratory viruses.

Covid-19 aerosol transmission


Viral nucleic acids, and in some instances viable viruses, have been detected in aerosols in the air in healthcare settings for some respiratory viruses such as seasonal and avian influenza viruses, Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus and respiratory syncytial virus. However, current evidences are yet to demonstrate that these viruses can effectively spread via airborne route between individuals, or whether preventive measures in airborne precautions would be effective.


Studies that use transmission events as outcome to demonstrate human-to-human transmission over the aerosol route or quantitative measurement of infectious respiratory viruses in the air are needed to evaluate the infectiousness of respiratory viruses over the aerosol route. When a respiratory virus in concern only leads to disease with low severity, airborne precautions are not likely to be justified.

What is transmission by indirect contact?

Indirect contact transmission refers to situations where a susceptible person is infected from contact with a contaminated surface. Some organisms (such as Norwalk Virus) are capable of surviving on surfaces for an extended period of time. To reduce transmission by indirect contact, frequent touch surfaces should be properly disinfected.

Covid-19 Droplet vs aerosol transmission

Frequent touch surfaces (fomites) include:

  • Door knobs, door handles, handrails
  • Tables, beds, chairs
  • Washroom surfaces
  • Cups, dishes, cutlery, trays
  • Medical instruments
  • Computer keyboards, mice, electronic devices with buttons
  • Pens, pencils, phones, office supplies
  • Children’s toys

What is transmission by droplet contact?

Some diseases can be transferred by infected droplets contacting surfaces of the eye, nose, or mouth. This is referred to as droplet contact transmission. Droplets containing microorganisms can be generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Droplets can also be generated during certain medical procedures, such as bronchoscopy. Droplets are too large to be airborne for long periods of time, and quickly settle out of air.

Droplet transmission can be reduced with the use of personal protective barriers, such as face masks and goggles. Measles, Covid-19 and SARS are examples of diseases capable of droplet contact transmission.

What is airborne transmission?

Airborne transmission refers to situations where droplet nuclei (residue from evaporated droplets) or dust particles containing microorganisms can remain suspended in air for long periods of time. These organisms must be capable of surviving for long periods of time outside the body and must be resistant to drying. Airborne transmission allows organisms to enter the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Fortunately, only a limited number of diseases are capable of airborne transmission.

Diseases capable of airborne transmission include:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Chickenpox
  • Measles

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3 thoughts on “Droplet vs Airborne Transmission warning

  1. Hi,
    Your article on droplet vs aerosol spread refers and is a very important educational material for public and community health workers. Although the article is drawing a thin line differentiating between droplet and aerosol (droplet nuclei) modes of transmission and clearly saying that both can happen at the same time is people are close together, it is not explaining:
    1. Why TB, measles and chicken pox should have predilection (preference) for airborne spread whereas COVID-19 should have preference for droplet spread. My understanding is that in one person the production of either droplets or aerosols is a mechanical process and not dependent on whether these (droplets or aerosols) are carrying infecting agents. In addition, the proportion of droplets vs aerosols in a cough, a sneeze, a shout or singing has nothing to do with whether there are germs or not, purely a mechanical process. In a person who has both infecting agents (e.g. TB vs COVID-19), there should be no difference in the proportions of TB or COVID-19 in either droplets or aerosols, and therefore the rate of falling to the ground of droplets and of floating if the air of aerosols, should be similar whether either of them (droplets vs aerosols) contains TB germs, COVID-19 germs or both or even neither of them.
    2. Why there is emphasis on COVID-19 being droplet spread (and not airborne), when actually, the conditions in the past months, especially in the northern hemisphere, winter forced people to work indoors, dine, drink, sing and enjoy in crowded indoors where the air circulation was restricted, mainly through air conditioners and not a natural breezes. The distances between people in these indoor places allowed both droplet and aerosol inhalation, and therefor none of the two methods of spread should have been superior to the other. In addition droplet spread does not seem to explain the worldwide spread of COVID-19 (as the main mode of spread).

    3. Could differences in climatic conditions explain the differences in numbers and severity of COVID-19 between the northern hemisphere and the tropics? Lack of testing alone in the tropical and poorly resourced countries does not seem to explain the observed epidemiological differences between these two climatic regions. Epidemiologically and pathologically, the COVID-19 disease seems less severe in tropical countries when compared to temperate climate countries (noting the differences in age-related conditions, underlying chronic diseases, and population density related factors.

    Any comments and clarifications please?

  2. It’s interesting how this disease is transmitted. Human contact vs airborne. Cold temperatures vs warm. This disease almost acts like a designer disease. It affects everyone differently. It’s as if it is picking and choosing those that have offended it. Don’t laugh too hard but it doesn’t act randomly. It’s almost specific about who it targets. People are its target and an occasional cat. Lungs are impacted. I think I had a mild case of Covid-19 and had a moment of when I thought I would quit breathing. I was scared and immediately thought of deep breathing exercises from the days I used to sing. So, I started those again and built up my lung capacity. It’s a very interesting disease. It’s frightening and deadly. I hope all the scientists who are working on a way to neutralize it can find the answer.

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