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Joined: 3/5/15 Posts: 10832
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Probably but I am behind on my Covid reading

My impression is that recirculated air and prolonged contact are the primary culprits. Most infections that they trace are family and co-workers, or prolonged social contact primarily indoors. One person in a family gets it from an ill-advised encounter with a careless sick person not wearing a mask or keeping their distance, and then they pass it to most of the others in their 'bubble'. This means that while most transmissions that are traced are actually 'inside the bubble', it is keeping the bubbles from interacting that is most important for stopping the chain of transmission. Masks and social distancing in public will stop the bubbles from interacting, which then has a secondary effect of preventing even more 'in-bubble' transmissions (e.g. each non-bubble transmission ends up being 2 to 5 new cases).

Viral load matters - most of us out and about are likely exposed to Covid in minor amounts frequently. But it takes apparently thousands of viral particles at once to establish a likely foothold in a new host (a cough can produce hundreds of thousands). So situations that increase the intensity of viral particles increase the likelihood of infection (and the severity too - initial viral load is like a race between the virus replication and your bodies defense system, a lower initial load means your body is more likely to repel the virus, often before you even become 'sick').

So avoid highly concentrated airborne virus particles and you have won most of the battle. Outdoors has fantastic air circulation which is why it is so much better, but stand next to someone coughing without a mask and it won't be enough to save you.

(In response to this post by woodyhoos)

Posted: 06/30/2020 at 4:33PM


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