Can the Coronavirus Linger in the Air and Infect You?

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Afraid of the air
Bordovski Yauheni /

Millions of us scrub our hands and wear masks in public, all in hopes of avoiding infection with the coronavirus. Now, science is giving us something more to worry about.

In a recent study, Chinese researchers found genetic material from the coronavirus in airborne droplets inside a pair of hospitals in Wuhan, China.

The tests seem to confirm something scientists previously found only in the laboratory: that the coronavirus can spread through the air, The New York Times reports.

Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, told the newspaper:

“Those are going to stay in the air floating around for at least two hours. It strongly suggests that there is potential for airborne transmission.”

The Times notes that the new findings leave some questions unsettled. For starters, researchers cannot say whether the samples they collected were infectious.

In addition, authorities at organizations such as the World Health Organization have suggested that it is unlikely the coronavirus is transmitted through such small droplets, known as aerosols.

Instead, WHO has stated that transmission is more likely through inhaling larger droplets — which are too big to stay airborne for long — and by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.

How to save money during the coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19 remains a threat to our collective health — and the harm may even extend to things as disparate as our cars and the nation’s Social Security system.

While it’s difficult to find anything good about this pandemic, there are a few silver linings. For examples of bargains that are likely to be around for a little while, check out “11 Things That Are Cheaper Due to the Coronavirus.”

You’ll find other ways to save — and stay safe — by reading “7 Easy Ways to Save Money and Limit Exposure to Coronavirus.”

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