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COVID Gets Airborne – Expert Explains How Viruses Travel Through the Air

Manwon Lender

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In May 2021, the Centers for Disease Control officially recognized that SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—is airborne, meaning it is highly transmissible through the air. Now University of California San Diego Professor and Endowed Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry Rommie Amaro, along with partners across the U.S. and around the world, has modeled the delta virus inside an aerosol for the first time.

Aerosols are tiny. A human hair is approximately 100 microns in diameter. Droplets—think of the spray that comes out of your mouth and nose when you sneeze—are larger than 100 microns and fall to the ground in seconds. In contrast, aerosols—produced simply by breathing and speaking-are everything smaller than 100 microns and can float in the air for hours and travel long distances.




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