Hospital Workers Proven Exposed to Airborne COVID Virus
Jon L. Gelman
Proving causal relationship in a health worker COVID occupational disease claim has just been bolster by a recent report associating SARS-CoV-2 in aerosols in disease transmission.
Viable virus was isolated from air samples collected 2 to 4.8m away from the patients. The genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 strain isolated from the material collected by the air samplers was identical to that isolated from the NP swab from the patient with an active infection. Estimates of viable viral concentrations ranged from 6 to 74 TCID50 units/L of air.
Patients with respiratory manifestations of COVID-19 produce aerosols in the absence of aerosol-generating procedures that contain viable SARS-CoV-2, and these aerosols may serve as a source of transmission of the virus.
Implications of all the available evidence:
Scientific information on the mode of transmission should guide best practices Current best practices for limiting the spread of COVID-19. Transmission secondary to aerosols, without the need for an aerosol- generating procedure, especially in closed spaces and gatherings, has been epidemiologically linked to exposures and outbreaks. For aerosol-based transmission, measures such as physical distancing by 6 feet would not be helpful in an indoor setting and would provide a false-sense of security. With the current surges of cases, to help stem the COVID-19 pandemic, clear guidance on control measures against SARS- CoV-2 aerosols are needed.
Our findings reveal that viable SARS-CoV-2 can be present in aerosols generated by a COVID-19 patient in a hospital room in the absence of an aerosol-generating procedure, and can thus serve as a source for transmission of the virus in this setting. Moreover, the public health implications are broad, especially as current best practices for limiting the spread of COVID-19 center on social distancing, wearing of face-coverings while in proximity to others and hand-washing. For aerosol-based transmission, measures such as physical distancing by 6 feet would not be helpful in an indoor setting, provide a false-sense of security and lead to exposures and outbreaks. With the current surges of cases, to help stem the COVID-19 pandemic, clear guidance on control measures against SARS-CoV-2 aerosols are needed, as recently voiced by other scientists.
Viable SARS-CoV-2 in the air of a hospital room with COVID-19 patients
John A Lednicky, Michael Lauzardo, Z. Hugh Fan, Antarpreet S Jutla, Trevor B Tilly, Mayank Gangwar, Moiz Usmani, Sripriya N Shankar, Karim Mohamed, Arantza Eiguren-Fernandez, Caroline J Stephenson, Md. Mahbubul Alam, Maha A Elbadry, Julia C Loeb, Kuttichantran Subramaniam, Thomas B Waltzek, Kartikeya Cherabuddi, John Glenn Morris Jr., Chang-Yu Wu
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