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Bus Passengers Finds Evidence of Covid-19 ‘Airborne Transmission’
Published on: 2020-09-04
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bus 03A person on a poorly ventilated Chinese bus infected nearly two dozen other passengers with coronavirus even though many weren't sitting close by, according to research published on Tuesday that offers fresh evidence the disease can spread in the air.

Health authorities had initially discounted the possibility that simply breathing could send infectious micro-droplets into the air, but did a U-turn as experts piled on pressure and evidence mounted.

The article published Tuesday in JAMA Internal Medicine probes the threat of airborne infection by taking a close look at passengers who made a 50-minute trip to a Buddhist event in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo aboard two buses in January before face masks became routine against the virus.

bus 02Classification 1 and 2 Two different approaches to define high-risk and low-risk COVID-19 zones are indicated: zone 1 (high-risk zone) and zone 2 (low-risk zones). Severity levels of cases were indicated. Windows are indicated with ovals, and there are 4 green side windows and that could be opened for fresh air. C indicates case; NC, noncase.

Researchers believe a passenger, whose gender was not identified, was likely patient zero because the person had been in contact with people from Wuhan, the city where the contagion emerged late last year.

The scientists managed to map out where the other passengers sat, and also test them for the virus, with 23 of 68 passengers subsequently confirmed as infected on the same bus.

What is notable is that the sickness infected people in the front and back of the bus, outside the perimeter of 1-2 meters (three-six feet) that authorities and experts say infectious droplets can travel.

On top of that, the sick passenger was not yet showing symptoms of the disease, such as a cough, when the group made their trip to a religious event.

bus 01Researchers also noted the air conditioning simply recirculated the air inside the bus, which likely contributed to spreading of the virus.

"The investigations suggest that, in closed environments with air recirculation, SARS-CoV-2 is a highly transmissible pathogen," they wrote, referring to the name of the virus.

"Our finding of potential airborne transmission has important public health significance."

Their study, which includes a diagram showing where each infected passenger sat, adds to the evidence of airborne transmission, including research into how the virus spread between diners' tables at a restaurant in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

一名乘客是如何将新冠病毒传播给乘坐同一辆公交车的其他23人的?

中国的一项最新研究显示,一个人感染了乘坐同一辆公交车的其他23人,因为他们都共用一个封闭的空间。这篇论文证明了新冠病毒通过空气传播的可能性,展示了一名感染新冠病毒的人如何在1月份将COVID-19传播给乘坐同一辆公交车的其他23人。

中国疾控中心的研究人员进行了这项研究。他们研究了新冠病毒在同一辆公交车的乘客之间传播的情况,并与第二组乘坐不同公交车但参加同一活动的乘客进行了比较。发表在《美国医学会内科学》上的这项研究称,“空气传播可能部分解释了这些公交车乘客感染SARS-CoV-2的风险增加。”

该研究考察了128人,他们分别乘坐两辆公交车上,去参加一个持续150分钟的宗教活动,往返车程为100分钟。这名患者是坐在2路公交车中间的乘客,如下图所示。该患者在行程结束后的新冠检测结果呈阳性,同车的其他23人也被感染。

无论人们坐在公交车上的哪个位置,都会感染病毒,这似乎清楚地表明,通风可能在疾病的传播中起到了作用。研究人员写道:“公交车上离指数病例较近的部分风险没有明显增加,这表明病毒的空气传播可能至少部分解释了所观察到的明显的高发作率”。

23人可能已经在宗教活动中被感染,这是一种可能性。但发生在另一辆公共汽车上的情况表明,感染主要发生在近两个小时的车程中。1路公交车上的60名乘客虽然和2路公交车上的乘客一起参加了同一活动,但并没有感染病毒。整个活动中,只有7名不在公交车上的人感染了病毒,很可能是同一来源。总共有300人参加了这次聚会。当时人们还没有采取安全措施。

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