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Model Calculations of Aerosol Transmission and Infection Risk of COVID-19 in Indoor Environments.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 03; 17(21)IJ

Abstract

The role of aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 viruses in airborne transmission of COVID-19 has been debated. The aerosols are transmitted through breathing and vocalization by infectious subjects. Some authors state that this represents the dominant route of spreading, while others dismiss the option. Here we present an adjustable algorithm to estimate the infection risk for different indoor environments, constrained by published data of human aerosol emissions, SARS-CoV-2 viral loads, infective dose and other parameters. We evaluate typical indoor settings such as an office, a classroom, choir practice, and a reception/party. Our results suggest that aerosols from highly infective subjects can effectively transmit COVID-19 in indoor environments. This "highly infective" category represents approximately 20% of the patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. We find that "super infective" subjects, representing the top 5-10% of subjects with a positive test, plus an unknown fraction of less-but still highly infective, high aerosol-emitting subjects-may cause COVID-19 clusters (>10 infections). In general, active room ventilation and the ubiquitous wearing of face masks (i.e., by all subjects) may reduce the individual infection risk by a factor of five to ten, similar to high-volume, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtering. A particularly effective mitigation measure is the use of high-quality masks, which can drastically reduce the indoor infection risk through aerosols.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany. The Cyprus Institute, Climate and Atmosphere Research Center, 2121 Nicosia, Cyprus.Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany.Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany.Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany.Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany.Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany.Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany.Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany. The Cyprus Institute, Climate and Atmosphere Research Center, 2121 Nicosia, Cyprus.Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany.Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

33153155

Citation

Lelieveld, Jos, et al. "Model Calculations of Aerosol Transmission and Infection Risk of COVID-19 in Indoor Environments." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, no. 21, 2020.
Lelieveld J, Helleis F, Borrmann S, et al. Model Calculations of Aerosol Transmission and Infection Risk of COVID-19 in Indoor Environments. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(21).
Lelieveld, J., Helleis, F., Borrmann, S., Cheng, Y., Drewnick, F., Haug, G., Klimach, T., Sciare, J., Su, H., & Pöschl, U. (2020). Model Calculations of Aerosol Transmission and Infection Risk of COVID-19 in Indoor Environments. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(21). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218114
Lelieveld J, et al. Model Calculations of Aerosol Transmission and Infection Risk of COVID-19 in Indoor Environments. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 3;17(21) PubMed PMID: 33153155.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Model Calculations of Aerosol Transmission and Infection Risk of COVID-19 in Indoor Environments. AU - Lelieveld,Jos, AU - Helleis,Frank, AU - Borrmann,Stephan, AU - Cheng,Yafang, AU - Drewnick,Frank, AU - Haug,Gerald, AU - Klimach,Thomas, AU - Sciare,Jean, AU - Su,Hang, AU - Pöschl,Ulrich, Y1 - 2020/11/03/ PY - 2020/10/18/received PY - 2020/10/28/revised PY - 2020/10/31/accepted PY - 2020/11/6/entrez PY - 2020/11/7/pubmed PY - 2020/11/24/medline KW - COVID-19 KW - SARS-CoV-2 virus KW - aerosol particles KW - airborne transmission KW - indoor environment KW - infection risk JF - International journal of environmental research and public health JO - Int J Environ Res Public Health VL - 17 IS - 21 N2 - The role of aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 viruses in airborne transmission of COVID-19 has been debated. The aerosols are transmitted through breathing and vocalization by infectious subjects. Some authors state that this represents the dominant route of spreading, while others dismiss the option. Here we present an adjustable algorithm to estimate the infection risk for different indoor environments, constrained by published data of human aerosol emissions, SARS-CoV-2 viral loads, infective dose and other parameters. We evaluate typical indoor settings such as an office, a classroom, choir practice, and a reception/party. Our results suggest that aerosols from highly infective subjects can effectively transmit COVID-19 in indoor environments. This "highly infective" category represents approximately 20% of the patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. We find that "super infective" subjects, representing the top 5-10% of subjects with a positive test, plus an unknown fraction of less-but still highly infective, high aerosol-emitting subjects-may cause COVID-19 clusters (>10 infections). In general, active room ventilation and the ubiquitous wearing of face masks (i.e., by all subjects) may reduce the individual infection risk by a factor of five to ten, similar to high-volume, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtering. A particularly effective mitigation measure is the use of high-quality masks, which can drastically reduce the indoor infection risk through aerosols. SN - 1660-4601 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/33153155/Model_Calculations_of_Aerosol_Transmission_and_Infection_Risk_of_COVID_19_in_Indoor_Environments_ L2 - https://www.mdpi.com/resolver?pii=ijerph17218114 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -