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Airborne Transmission of the Virus SARS-CoV-2
About this Webinar Series
The COPSS-NISS COVID-19 Data Science webinar series is co-organized by the Committee of the Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) and its five charter member societies (ASA, ENAR, IMS, SSC, and WNAR), as well as NISS. This bi-weekly seminar features the latest research that is positioned on the cusp of new understanding and analysis of COVID-19 pandemic data, and promotes data-driven research and decision making to combat COVID-19. Find out more about this series and view all the previous sessions on the Webinar Series page.
Scientists realized soon after the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that airborne transmission, which is by inhalation of small airborne virus laden particles (often called aerosols), generated during human respiratory activities was the main mode of the spread of the infection. The prevailing theory of infection transmission, that it was via the direct contact with much bigger particles (often called droplets), leading to distancing at 6 feet arose from work by Flugge in 1897 and later theory by Well-Riley. Immediately upon the detection of the virus, Dr. Morawska and other aerosol experts recognized that the virus may be transmitted by much smaller particles than recognized by Flugge, over longer distances (as far as 60 feet and further) and lingering longer in the air. This is a major change in understanding and public health implications of virus transmission. WHO guidance was modified to reflect the possibility of virus transmission over longer distances and lingering longer in the air. It is expected that this will lead to changes in public health policy regarding mask usage, and ventilation of buildings and other areas people may gather.
A Few Relevant Papers for Review:
Morawska, L. Droplet Fate in Indoor Environments, Or Can We Prevent the Spread of Infection. Indoor Air, 16(5): 335-347, 2006. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0668.2006.00432.x
Morawska, L. and Cao, J. Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2: the world should face the reality. Environment International, 139: 105730, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105730
Morawska, L. and Milton, D. It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 71(9): 2311-2313, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa939
Lidia Morawska, (Director, International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health and Distinguished Professor at the Queensland University of Technology)
Chris Barker, (Statistical Planning and Analysis Services Inc. and 2022 chair-elect Statistical Consulting Section of the ASA)