New research has shown that people over 6ft may be twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 – suggesting that the virus can spread via aerosol transmission and not just droplets.
The survey, outlined in greater detail on the University of Manchester website website, revealed that taller individuals were at higher risk of catching coronavirus – meaning it was “very likely” that coronavirus remains in the air to form aerosols.
According to the data scientists from the UK, US and Norway, these results are “something that would not have been observed if downward droplet transmission was the only transmission mechanism.”
Aerosols gather in poorly ventilated areas and are carried by air currents, whereas droplets (which are larger) travel short distances and fall quickly from the air.
Professor Evan Kontopantelis, from The University of Manchester, said: “The results of this survey in terms of associations between height and diagnosis suggest downward droplet transmission is not the only transmission mechanism and aerosol transmission is possible.
“This has been suggested by other studies but our method of confirmation is novel.”
The survey also suggested the use of masks may play an even more important role in prevention of transmission than some previously thought.
Professor Kontopantelis added: “Though social distancing is still important because transmission by droplets is still likely to occur, it does suggest that mask wearing may be just as if not more effective in prevention.
“But also, air purification in interior spaces should be further explored.”
The paper is yet to be peer reviewed. But researchers believe its full results should be made available to the wider community.
Pockets of coronavirus outbreaks continue to occur across the UK.
Oldham recently had new measures introduced to combat the prospect of a local lockdown, whilst a bar in Stockport was forced to shut down earlier this week after three members of staff tested positive for the virus.