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COVID-19: Nebraska Medicine: “Study documents widespread contamination of the environment near patients with COVID-19”

Please see my post from two days ago, COVID-19: Public Policy MUST be Changed: Facial Coverings should ALWAYS be Worn To Protect Others. I’m “all in” here—I sure hope I am totally, utterly wrong.

This study is far from the end of the story; it's just a bare start. But it raises the prospect of airborne transmission of COVID-19 as well as surface contamination via the air, e.g., coughing/sneezing/breathing causing virions to land on surfaces. Either way, wearing a facial covering (ideally an N95/N100 mask when supply ramps up), might greatly reduce such spread.

March 29, University of Nebraska: Study documents widespread contamination of the environment near patients with COVID-19

Selected quotes:

IMPORTANT context about this information: Our findings DO NOT confirm that this virus spreads in an airborne fashion. The identification of genetic material from the virus that causes COVID-19 in air samples found in this study provides limited evidence that some potential for airborne transmission exists. More study is underway to determine if live culturable virus was captured in this study and additional evidence is needed to determine the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission via the airborne route. PLEASE EMPHASIZE THIS in all stories generated from this release.

...The study suggests that COVID-19 patients, even those who are only mildly ill, may create aerosols of virus and contaminate surfaces that may pose a risk for transmission.

...Many commonly used items, toilet facilities, and air samples had evidence of the virus, indicating that SARS-CoV-2 is widely disseminated in the environment. These findings indicate that disease might be spread through both direct (droplet and person-to-person) as well as indirect contact (contaminated objects and airborne transmission) and suggests airborne isolation precautions could be appropriate.

Studies like these are needed to understand proper precautions for healthcare workers, first responders and others who care for the ill and are needed to combat this pandemic,”...

DIGLLOYD: so if I’m not a healthcare worker, I don’t need to take similar precautions? The virus knows my job?

Shouldn’t “airborne isolation” start at the source by blocking respiratory particles from coughing/sneezing/breathing? Surely this suggests that everyone should wear a facial covering until we are sure, as a precaution against a deadly threat? If a facial covering reduces transmission by, say, 10% that would be a huge win.

Point is, as a public health precaution, a facial covering would block most respiratory particles, so whether it is direct airborne transmission or surface contamination (via coughing, etc), both would be greatly reduced (blocked) by the covering.

To suggest that the general public need take only basic precautions such as 6 foot distancing and hand washing—well, how is that working for us folks?

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