We were moved to respond to the recent letter on the nature of airborne spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). There is currently intense debate over how much transmission occurs through the production of aerosols <5 mm, which have the capacity to remain airborne for hours and are thus at the mercy of prevailing draughts or ventilation currents. If SARS-CoV-2 is emitted in aerosol in this manner, then susceptible persons may inhale the virus outside the statutory 1e2 m distance imposed by infection prevention bodies and the World Health Organization. It is important to better ascertain the risk of aerosol spread before ruling it out completely. Should the main mode of transmission be due to droplets (>5 mm) and direct contact, as currently advocated, then advice on preventive measures would be adequate. But evidence is beginning to accumulate that implies a more important role for aerosol spread and this demands an urgent reassessment of respiratory precautions.


Copyright © 2020 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Cite as

Dancer, S., Tang, J., Marr, L., Miller, S., Morawska, L. & Jimenez, J. 2020, 'Putting a balance on the aerosolization debate around SARS-CoV-2', Journal of Hospital Infection, 105(3), pp. 569-570. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2020.05.014

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 05 October 2022
Was this page helpful?