General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

Is COVID-19 communicable through the air, or surfaces only?

Asked by Yellowdog (12208points) March 18th, 2020
10 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

I can wash my hands often, and avoid contagion from droplets that result from coughs and sneezes. But what about the air itself?

Is it safe to eat at restaurants?

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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

It is unknown at this time whether it is communicable through the air, according to the information I have. It is possible someone else has better information.

However, the CDC has issued guidelines to avoid all groups larger than 10 people, and within those groups, all individuals should allow 6’ distance between each other.

My governor has closed all restaurants and bars. The same has been done in many states. There’s a reason they are closed. Groups of more than 10 gather in restaurants in small spaces.

I am answering this as an employee of the Hawaii State Dept. of Health.

Caravanfan's avatar

We are assuming it is communicable by air droplets.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

My state has closed all restaurants and bars.

Verizon Wireless store only lets in two customers and their two Customer Service people (I know my mobile died it was four years old) .

chyna's avatar

Restaurants, bars and a lot of churches are closed here. Also the casino’s.

kritiper's avatar

Both. Surfaces and if someone sneezes and you walk through the cloud.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

By air mostly that’s why the 6 foot distance rule, by surface you touch it then rub your eyes, pick your nose,pick something out of your teeth and bingo.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m no expert.

What I read is there are conflicting reports that it can become aerosolized. Right now, the belief is it’s in droplets in the air in coughs and sneezes, and even when people simply talk they can be spraying droplets into the air. if you are in the range of the droplets you can become infected. The droplets are fairly heavy and go down to the ground fairly quickly.

Extremely contagious diseases like measles the virus is so small they say it becomes aerosolized and it floats in the air for a very long time. So, it’s part of the air, or airborne rather than just a droplet traveling through the area and landing fairly quickly.

I looked up airborne several years ago, because the terminology was perplexing me that a disease that you can catch from a sneeze was not said to be airborne and what I found is basically what I explained above.

I guess a technical medical difference, but for the average person I think we would say you can catch it through the air if we can catch it standing next to someone. The measles example people catch it being in the same room, you don’t need to be very close.

Anyway, I guess they are not sure it’s floating in the air for a very long time like measles. You would think many more people would be sick if it was. Just my own non-expert opinion. If a cruise ship of non-vaccinated for measles people was floating around the sea and one had measles, Probably 80–90% of the people would get infected. It’s drastic. I’m not sure the exact percentages, but just saying it’s more drastic than what we see for C-19.

Last I saw during a presidential address they still confirm it is living on surfaces, and people need to be thinking what they are touching.

Again, I’m not an expert. Even the experts seem unsure.

LadyMarissa's avatar

According to this Fact or Fiction out of the UK College of Pharmacy..

Fact or Fiction: The coronavirus can spread through the air and on surfaces.

Martin: Fact. Every time you sneeze, cough or even speak, you expel tiny droplets of air. Those droplets are either inhaled by others (if you are in very close contact) or they land on surfaces. Since the virus can survive outside the human body, someone else can contract the virus by contact with those surfaces.

Fact or Fiction: The novel coronavirus COVID-19 lives on surfaces for 48–72 hours.

Martin: Fact, and possibly longer. For this reason, disinfection of all surfaces is extremely important. High-touch surfaces are particularly vulnerable to contamination.

Jeruba's avatar

I’d strongly advise going to CDC sources or local health authorities for sound guidance. Opinions may or may not be based on facts.

si3tech's avatar


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