In the race to understand the coronavirus and how it is transmitted, scientists still have much to learn. But two new studies shed some light on two of the biggest question marks: the roles played by young children and aerosols.
Though infected children have not been considered vectors of the virus, a small study released on Thursday found that kids under the age of 5 have as much viral material in their noses and throats as adults, and perhaps as much as 100 times more. The research doesn’t prove that children spread the virus, but experts say it’s highly suggestive that they might.
Aerosols — microscopic droplets that people produce when exhaling or talking — have also captivated scientists, many of whom sounded alarm bells long before the World Health Organization acknowledged this month that the virus can be airborne. A new study looked at how the virus exploded onboard the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship where 700 of the 3,711 passengers and crew members tested positive for the virus in January. The researchers concluded that 60 percent of infections were spread via aerosols.
“Epidemiologists are finding that this disease stalks us indoors,” writes Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, in The Atlantic, arguing that we need to pay more attention to ventilation. To ward off potentially infectious aerosols, Linsey Marr, an engineer who studies how viruses spread through the air, advises in a Times Op-Ed to open windows and upgrade filters in air-conditioners and heaters. And the golden rules of the pandemic remain: Keep your distance, wear a mask with multiple layers and avoid crowds.
What else we’re following
- The coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson protected monkeys from infection with just one dose, a new study found.
- The eight counties with the largest populations of Native Americans have case rates that are nearly double the national average, a Times analysis found.
- Buddy, the first U.S. dog to test positive for the virus, has died, National Geographic reports.
- Vietnam Outbreak: The country, which for months had one of the lowest instances of virus cases globally, and not a single death, has imposed more restrictions as an outbreak that started in a popular beach resort destination grew with many new cases. The outbreak has spread from hot spot Da Nang in central Vietnam to other cities and provinces with more than 90 cases since the weekend, and protective measures are intensifying across the nation
@ AP/ Editing by Vietnam Insider