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The new corona virus can spread when people talk

It is possible that the new corona virus can spread from person to person simply by talking or even breathing, according to new guidance from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

The limited studies reviewed by a National Academies Committee for Emerging Infectious Diseases suggest that people infected with the new virus can exhale infectious “bioaerosols” – although it is unclear if the amount would be enough to make another sick person.

“The results of available studies are consistent with the aerosolization of normal-breathing viruses,”

; wrote the committee chief, Dr. Harvey Fineberg, in a letter to Kelvin K. Droegemeier, head of the White House’s science and technology office. Policy.

The letter was designed to answer a question from Droegemeier: Can the virus responsible for COVID-19 spread through conversation?

To formulate a response, the committee considered a study published last week by a team from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Researchers there collected air samples from 11 isolation rooms where COVID-19 patients were treated. They also looked for evidence of the virus on surfaces.

The researchers found viral RNA in the air that was caught more than six feet from patients. They also found it in the air from the corridor outside the patient’s room, according to the study.

Remarkably, the researchers said that none of the patients were seen to cough while air samples were taken.

“You don’t need to hack, cough … to produce a particle that at least has viral RNA in it,” study director Joshua Santarpia, a professor of pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said in an interview.

The study was published on a website for time-sensitive medical research and has not been conducted through the traditional peer review process.

Fineberg wrote in the summary: “Although this research indicates that virus particles can be spread via bioaerosols, the authors explained that finding infectious virus has proved difficult.”

He added that the Nebraska team is conducting further experiments to see if the amount of virus in their air samples is dangerous.

Dr. George Rutherford, epidemiologist and expert on infectious diseases at UC San Francisco, said he was not surprised that the virus could spread by breathing and talking.

“Think about what your breath looks like when you go to Mammoth Mountain and you can see it – these are breathing drops,” he said. “Of course, you can have it while you talk to someone. If you are within six meters you are at risk.”

Infected drops can also spread in the air by singing, Rutherford said, citing the case of a driving practice in Washington state last month. A total of 45 people who participated in that practice were diagnosed with COVID-19; two have died and at least three have been hospitalized.

The National Academy’s letter also highlighted a study, published on Friday as a short message in the journal Nature Medicine, which suggests that surgical masks can help keep an infected person from transmitting the virus to others.

The study’s author collected air samples of breaths exhaled by patients in a Hong Kong clinic between 2013 and 2016. Some patients wore masks and others did not.

For people infected with a common type of coronavirus that causes colds – not the one associated with the pandemic in question – the virus was sometimes found in exhalations when no face mask was worn. But when masks were in place, no virus particles could be detected.

“This has important implications for the control of COVID-19, suggesting that surgical face masks can be used by sick people to reduce transmission,” wrote the study authors, who were from the University of Hong Kong, Harvard School of Public Health and University of Maryland School or Public Health.

On Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed their guidance and advised Americans to wear facial coatings when they leave their homes.

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