How to protect yourself from airborne transmission of Covid-19

09 July 2020 - 14:25 By Iavan Pijoos
Wits University's Prof Shabir Madhi said airborne transmissions explain the rapid rate at which the coronavirus is being transmitted.
Wits University's Prof Shabir Madhi said airborne transmissions explain the rapid rate at which the coronavirus is being transmitted.
Image: Supplied/Wits

University of the Witwatersrand professor Shabir Madhi, who has said that airborne transmission of Covid-19 has been underestimated, has listed ways for people to protect themselves.

Madhi said this week that experience from what is termed “super-spreader events” suggested that there was a fair amount of airborne transmission of the virus taking place.

He said it was “safe to say” airborne transmissions were a reality, and that this explained the rapid rate at which the coronavirus was being transmitted.

According to Reuters, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of coronavirus.

This comes after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people.

At a press conference on Tuesday, WHO officials said that airborne transmission could not be ruled out in crowded, closed or poorly ventilated spaces, but research into this aspect of the virus would continue.

Madhi has listed ways to protect yourself from airborne transmission:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Avoid crowded settings.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation in all places, especially in shared spaces.
  • Try to do as many of your tasks as possible outdoors - which helps with dispersion of the aerosols.
  • Windows of taxis and other public transport need to be open all the time.
  • He also suggested minimising the recirculation of air or having robust filtration systems able to capture small droplets when using air-conditioning.


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