UPDATE: Click here to watch video -> The United States government has finally admitted that SARS-CoV-2 is airborne and that some airborne transmission is possible.
China Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party has reported that COVID-19 is airborne:
Confirmed transmission routes of the novel coronavirus include direct transmission, contact transmission and aerosol transmission, a Shanghai official said on Saturday.“Aerosol transmission refers to the mixing of the virus with droplets in the air to form aerosols, which causes infection after inhalation, according to medical experts,” said Zeng Qun, deputy head of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
But that was quickly refuted by someone from the Chinese CDC…
Feng Luzhao, a researcher with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that at a press conference that aerosol transmission refers to the mixing of the virus with droplets in the air to form aerosols, which can float for long distance and cause infection after inhalation.
But there is no need for the public to panic since no evidence showed that the new virus could be contracted by aerosols, he said, adding that the most common transmission routes of the novel coronavirus are found during direct transmission, which is caused by inhalation of air close to a patient who sneezes and coughs.
Sadly, many western doctors are dismissing that chance that COVID-19 is airborne. They insist that before we institute protections from airborne pathogens there must be proof…
While Associate Professor Ian Mackay, a virologist at the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre, told newsGP he would not be surprised if coronavirus could be transmitted by an airborne route, he said there is ‘zero public-reviewed experimental evidence’ to support the claim.
‘That evidence would need to show that infectious virus in suitable quantities to start an infection in a susceptible host, is present in the airborne gel-like “droplet nuclei” captured from the air,’ he said.
‘At the moment this is just a pronouncement without supporting evidence. We have to be careful because we have seen numerous false starts and wild claims around this virus, which have all lacked any evidence, quality expert review, or slow and careful consideration before publication or any expertise associated with their original analysis.’
Slow and careful consideration? To implement airborne precautions?
It should be just the opposite. Plan for the worst (assume it is airborne) and hope for the best (pray transmission is person to person or fomites).
Absolutely no harm can come of assuming it is airborne for now — and then backing off of on that assumption if proven otherwise.
Front-line medical workers using WHO guidelines are being put at risk because they are failing to wear proper protective equipment (PPE) for an airborne virus or use adequate infection control procedures.
Countries like Canada are not only using improper infection control guidelines for this novel virus, but they are refusing to close their air border to foreign visitors coming from China.
The mistake of underestimating a novel coronavirus has been made before…
SARS Is An Airborne Coronavirus
SARS was proven to be airborne. In 2003, in the Amoy Gardens Apartments in Hong Kong a total of 321 cases of SARS were clustered in the 10 tower apartment estate. Forty-two (42) of the infected died.
What started the outbreak?
Patient Zero was a 33 year old man from Shenzhen China who was in Hong Kong for medical treatment of a renal problem. He stayed with his brother who was living in the E Block of Amoy Gardens Apartment.
Reportedly Patient Zero was suffering from severe diarrhea.
The initial investigation at Amoy Apartments revealed defective plumbing allowed the feces of Patient Zero to infect other units in the building.
The soil stack (the sewer pipe coming from the toilets and sinks) not only had a crack in it –but the ‘S bend’ water-traps coming from the drains and toilets in many apartments were dry, due to improper installation and use.
This allowed unpleasant fragrances and SARS laden aerosols from virus-laden feces to enter apartments via the air ducting to apartments above the initial victim. SARS virus is shed in high quantities in the stool of infected people.
(Want to see how fucked the plumbing is the Amoy Gardens? Check out this picture! UV light on those pipes is going to cause cracks eventually. And if you really want to see how bad plumbing can spread disease in apartments take a look at the disturbing video towards the bottom of this post.)
Although the initial investigation stated…
Transmission of the disease by airborne, waterborne route and infected dust aerosols have been examined but these were not supported by the epidemiological picture and laboratory results.
Later studies using computer modeling and fluid dynamics showed that airborne transmission from a fecal plume explained the location and number of cases in the Amoy Gardens Estate. A plume that caused cases 200 meters away!
Fluid dynamics also showed that the airborne transmission of SARS explained an outbreak in a hospital ward in Hong Kong.
It also explained transmission of SARS on an aircraft.
And airborne transmission explained the presence of SARS in air samples taken in a Canadian hospital room with a SARS patient.
SARS-CoV transmission may also occur through small-particle aerosols, especially during aerosol-generating procedures.
In 2014, a very important follow-up medical study of the Amoy Gardens SARS incident was done. Using fluid dynamics and modelling not only did it prove that an airborne plume was the cause of the SARS cluster in Amoy Gardens but they gave this important warning that is applicable for COVID-19…
It is now widely accepted that the SARS coronavirus could be transmitted through aerosols under certain circumstances in medical facilities, but fear of panic and political blame led to the reluctance of various health authorities in admitting airborne spread of SARS in the community.
The probable long-range airborne transmission of SARS in the community should sound an alarm to health authorities of the world, and now is the right time for all to rethink the strategy for managing future emerging infectious diseases. Infectious disease scientists should keep an open mind to all possible routes of transmission by objectively analyzing the available data, instead of emphasizing too much their historical understanding of models for person-to-person transmission.
Strong Evidence MERS Is An Airborne Coronavirus
MERS (which is also a coronavirus) also seems to be airborne. After 36 deaths in a South Korean hospital four (4) out of seven (7) air samples taken in the hospital not only found evidence of MERS virus but the virus was able to be cultured.
In another study on MERS researchers said:
…it is noteworthy that viral RNA was detected on the entrance to air-ventilating equipment in 1 room, suggesting the potential existence of airborne-viral particles. Because our study included small number of patients (4 patients) in their late clinical phase, to confirm the airborne transmission of MERS-CoV, more case studies and additional well-designed experimental studies will be needed.
Despite a thorough investigation, the questions whether the person-to-person transmission occurred through respiratory droplets or direct contact, or whether it was airborne remain unanswered. Based on the currently available data, the airborne transmission of MERS-CoV cannot be excluded, but there is no indication that it plays an important role in the transmission of the virus.
Can we not say that it is highly likely that the MERS coronavirus is also airborne?
Airborne Bio-Aerosol Transmission Of COVID-19 In Hong Kong Is Likely
The lessons of Amoy Gardens appears to be fresh in everyone’s minds in Hong Kong. A cluster of COVID-19 victims in the same apartment building called Hong Mei House sent Chinese epidemiologists scrambling. Their quick on-scene investigation found defective plumbing in one of the units that may have led to infection…
In Hong Kong, the authorities ordered the evacuation of some apartment building residents after finding that a 62-year-old woman, who was newly confirmed as infected, had an unsealed pipe in her bathroom. The woman lives 10 floors below a resident who was earlier found to be infected.
Four other people living in three other units also displayed symptoms of the coronavirus, according to Sophia Chan, Hong Kong’s health secretary. Later on Tuesday, the city’s health authorities announced that three relatives of the 62-year-old woman had also been infected.
They evacuated the apartments likely preventing many new cases and deaths.
The fact that they found a similar problem in Hong Mei House, leads many to believe that once again we are dealing with a virus that in airborne. And once again we are dealing with a virus that is present in stool.
The first US case of Wuhan Coronavirus had a large amount of the virus in loose stool (diarrhea). And doctors in China released a medical study noting the same thing in Chinese victims: large amounts of virus in their stool.
So there is a strong probability of bio-aerosols (fecal nuclei) being pulled vertically through plumbing in Hong Mei House. As noted by Hong Kong microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung…
“As the pipeline that transfers feces is connected to the air pipe, it is very likely for the virus in the feces to be transmitted through the air fan into the toilet,” Yuen said.
The bio-aerosol problem is prevalent in the spread of other viral outbreaks hospitals and apartment buildings according to these fascinating lecture slides I found online:
This YouTube video discussed in the lecture gives an extreme example of how “shitty plumbing” can spread disease.
Norovirus and SARS can both be spread due to bio-aerosol transmission via plumbing. And it is highly likely that COVID-19 is capable of bio-aerosol transmission too.
What Happened On The Diamond Princess? Why Did The Quarantine Fail To Contain The Spread?
As I said in a previous post. The quarantine likely failed due to airborne transmission. It probably moved through the ship’s ventilation system — which is a forced air system with fans.
And what ONE virus can do — another can do.
In its newly published infection prevention and control recommendations for COVID-19, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of N95 respirators in a healthcare setting with the suspected novel coronavirus, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended surgical masks for general patient care and respirators for aerosol-generating procedures only.
To underline my point that the WHO guidelines and the simple “wash your hands” infection prevention bullshit that is being pushed by Canada, the UK and the WHO is insufficient…
A Japanese quarantine officer that was on board the Diamond Princess taking temperatures and going door-to-door collecting paperwork caught the damn COVID-19 virus.
How does a trained medical doctor responsible for quarantine catch this deadly bug?
Because he was freakin’ idiot. An idiot following WHO guidelines…
He wasn’t following USA CDC guidelines, or even basic common-sense. The quarantine officer failed to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for a possible airborne threat.
He was environment, that he knew to be contaminated with a novel deadly pathogen — with nothing more than some rubber gloves and a surgical mask.
Novel means: NEW! Never seen before. Fresh. Unprecedented. Untried. Untested. Radical. Don’t know what it fucking does.
There is a reason that US Marines and soldiers go into a chemical or biological hot zone in MOPP Level 4
We Don’t Know, What We Don’t Know – So Don’t Pretend That It Isn’t Airborne Until We Can Confirm It Isn’t Airborne!
Bruce RIBNER, MD, is medical director of the Serious Communicable Diseases Unit at Emory University Hospital. At Emory, Ribner is responsible for the care of patients treated for Ebola, Lassa fever, and other serious pathogen diseases. He says:
“We don’t really know how the coronavirus (COVID-19) is being transmitted from person to person, because no one has done the NIOSH studies that simulate the cough big droplets that land 3 to 6 feet away from a person or the little droplets that can travel long distances and in air handling system,” RIBNER said. “So we have to use what we know about other coronaviruses and influenza when it comes to this disease.”
“What we know,” RIBNER said, “is that multiple modes of transmission are likely at play, including large droplets, small droplets (or aerosols), and contaminated hands.”
RIBNER went on to say that the WHO recommended protection guidelines may depend on resources. In third world countries a respirator may not be available due to cost or manufacturing — so the next best thing is a surgical mask.
RIBNER says that likely contributes to the WHO’s surgical mask recommendation.
“The WHO is sensitive to the fact that not every part of the world has the resources of the US and Western Europe.”
The WHO is a United Nations political bureaucracy.
The focus needs to be on saving as many lives as possible. Not on sensitivity or maintaining economic output and trade.
Until we can confirm through testing, that this highly infectious, deadly coronavirus which has infected many thousands of people around the world isn’t airborne — we need to assume it is airborne.