The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies established that transmission via respiratory droplets is the major route of spread of the novel coronavirus. The UN agency had also noted in recent past that airborne transmission was an insignificant route of spread of the virus; however, a new study suggests that the airborne spread may also be a major route of spread of the virus.
The study authors surveyed 2,000 people in the UK and US to evaluate the risk factors for a positive COVID-19 test result. The researchers found that being tall was a strong risk factor for contracting the virus – the reverse of which should be if transmission of the virus was exclusively or primarily via respiratory droplets.
Aerosols can accumulate in a poorly-ventilated enclosed area and carry contaminants and virus for a long period. Droplets, on the other hand, have a larger density and can only travel a short distance before dropping from the air. The study authors, therefore, suggested that if taller people have a higher risk of contracting the disease, airborne spread may be a significant route of transmission of the virus.