Airborne Coronavirus – Can Coronavirus Be Airborne?

When all this with Coronavirus started, we were told by some serious authorities that it is essential to wash hands, they were not concerned about facemasks. Nowadays, what we see is that facemasks are everywhere, and what a surprise, the same authorities now claim that they are essential to stop the virus from spreading.

So what is the meaning of all this? Can Coronavirus be airborne? I am one of those who were suffering from the virus, in my case this lasted almost 6 weeks in March and April. After such an experience, I have all the reasons to be skeptical about the statements from those TV experts with their serious faces.

Right now, I am just listening to the news while writing this text, and guess what: in the country where I am now, you can get 250 Euro penalty if you enter the train without a facemask. Just to make things clear, this is July month. Only a couple of weeks ago such masks were considered unnecessary.

The leading virologist in the country where I live was claiming that there was no need for them. In fact, he claimed that this would be an unnecessary waste of medical material. He speaks differently now, and it appears he is not ashamed, he is in the media all the time. Such experts are still advising presidents and prime ministers all over the globe. I have not heard any of them resigning from their convenient advisor positions.

In my previous text I gave some numbers about the sizes of air pollutants. This was before the latest “discovery” about the airborne Coronavirus. In fact, there is nothing to discover, just use elementary logic and it will become clear what you can expect.

But before I continue, see what this expert was saying a couple of months ago, in March 2020, note this is Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead COVID 19 from the World Health Organization, she is saying that airborne Coronavirus is a myth:

On the day of writing this text there was this news on the BBC in which I read that “An open letter from more than 200 scientists had accused the WHO of underestimating the possibility of airborne transmission.”

So can Coronavirus be transmitted through the air?

If you have no time to read the text, then the short answer is yes. Note, I am just a theoretical physicist and not a medical doctor or an expert in molecular biology or in any of such fields. But I love numbers.

It is becoming widely accepted that the virus can stay in the air for hours. It is fair to say that at this stage this is still at the level of guessing and there are no data that can tell us how often the virus can be found in the air, but it can certainly be expected in crowded closed spaces.

Most of the time they write about tiny droplets, and the term aerosols is used to describe them. They are created when people speak, exhale, sneeze, etc. But without going into detail, aerosols are everything carried by air. In fact, viruses are tiny when compared to typical natural aerosols. This means they can be attached to such larger particles and we can get them into our respiratory organs. So viruses do not have to be carried by air as separate particles, but it seems they can be carried in the vapor we exhale.

To realize what I mean, think about pollen which is in the air in certain periods of the year and many people suffer from it. Why? Because it is carried through the air and it gets in our respiratory system. Particles of pollen are typically in the size range from 2.5 to 100 microns. On the other hand, the Coronavirus is around 0.1 microns, see it in the real picture obtained from an electronic microscope.

This is the real picture of the Corona virus.
This is the real picture of the Corona virus.

So pollen particles are 25-100 times bigger than the virus. Imagine 1 meter and compare this with 1 centimeter, this is how it can be small compared to the pollen that is normally carried by air. So how much wisdom is needed to realize that viruses can be found in the air, either within tiny droplets or attached to such pollen and similar particles?

What else is needed for airborne Coronavirus

Being airborne is not enough to assume it is dangerous. Viruses normally cannot survive for a long time when airborne. But if you are in a closed space with many people around, you can expect a continuous supply of the virus if some of the people around are infected. In fact, one infected person may be enough to have a super-spreader event.

So should you use a face mask indoors?

I guess you will decide for yourself. But this may depend on the place where you live, you may pay huge penalties in some places if you do not use it.

In any case, I can only speak from my own experience. After my recovery from the virus, I have never entered any public space without a mask and without at least one glove on the hand. I try to stay in such closed pubic spaces as short as possible. This is partly due to the mask itself, I cannot breathe properly through it, and this brings back my recent memories.

Can an air purifier protect you from viruses?

As a non-expert in the field, my filing is that nothing can protect us completely. Air purifiers can stop many of microparticles, scientific studies show this.

But see the picture below. This is a zoomed view of a filter, it is full of pores created randomly, some are tiny, but some can be large. The term “average pore size” makes no sense if there is any of these randomly created pores that is large to let viruses pass. As you see from the picture, some of them can be much larger than the “average”.

Zoomed view of an air filter.
Zoomed view of an air filter.

But there is more to this, there are studies that show that HEPA air purifiers can do a great job in removing viruses from the air. This is discussed in my separate text.

The irony is, when I was creating a pin for Pinterest for this post, I did it in Canva, and as soon as I entered the title, I got a warning that I should consult the World Health Organization for the most accurate information about the COVID 19. Really?

Thank you for reading. Please use the comment box below in the case of questions or comments. Have a nice day.

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