coronavirus

Coronavirus Doesn't Just Spread Through Coughs, Sneezes Or Hugs, Say Scientists

Three studies published in August look into other ways the novel coronavirus can spread

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Scientists are learning something new about coronavirus every day.

Three new scientific studies published this month show that the COVID-19 virus can spread in more ways than just a cough, sneeze or hugs.

Low humidity might make the perfect day outdoors but more research confirms a link between low humidity and community spread of COVID-19.

When the humidity is lower, the air is drier, which shrinks the aerosols that come from your mouth, like when you cough, and cause them to linger in the air longer.

Assistant Professor and Director at UNT Health Science Center's MPH Epidemiology Program Dr. Diana Cervantes looked at the studies and weighed in.

She said the same principle applies to other viruses, like the flu, and so does the science discovered in a second study looking at COVID transmission and public restrooms.

Chinese researchers found that flushing a public restroom toilet can release clouds of virus-filled aerosols, which could pose a serious public health challenge.

"That’s where people use the restroom so you always have to make sure that you’re doing good hand-washing and always being careful in the bathroom in general," said Cervantes, not surprised the research.

A third study looked at airborne dust and microscopic fibers, like the particles you see fly into the air when you crumple up a tissue.

Those, too, can carry the coronavirus into the air.

"Sometimes, when you read these papers, these very controlled, experimental type conditions that don't really translate into the real world," cautioned Cervantes.

The study results bolster an important takeaway: take precautions to avoid getting sick.

"Ultimately, what these studies are showing time and time again is that physical distancing is very important. Making sure you’re wearing a mask and avoiding crowds are also very important."


*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.


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