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Covid-19 transmission, a question of distance?

Person washing hands

The behaviour of covid-19 is changing, and so is our attitude to risk. After months the pandemic persists and new cases are emerging every day in all countries. This is why we must continue to remember the prevention guidelines.

The main routes of transmission of covid-19 are, through the respiratory droplets of people carrying the virus. This disease has a great capacity to spread and it seems that we do not yet know how it behaves. 

The habits we are acquiring of hygiene and detachment to avoid transmitting the virus, will allow us to act against other infections under normal conditions. We remind you that, in addition to the main preventive measures to avoid the risk of covid-19 contagionIn addition, new measures such as a ban on smoking in public places or limiting family gatherings to a maximum number of people are being added.

These measures are intended not only to prevent infection but also to ensure that we can "trace" the chain of infection and isolate those who have contracted or may have contracted the virus.

Contagion by direct contact with respiratory droplets from a covid-19 infected person

The World Health Organisation has confirmed that coronavirus is transmitted through the air and not only by contact with respiratory droplets of people who are infected, with or without symptoms.

This means that we are all potential carriers of the virus and everyone should take preventive measures. The main one is to keep a distance of one metre between people; if an infected person sneezes or coughs and those droplets reach another person, the likelihood of transmission is very high.

Do masks protect us when we walk in the street? While during the first few months, when the disease first appeared, it was not compulsory to wear a mask, it is now compulsory whenever we are in public places, workplaces and any place where there are personal relationships. It is very important to wear them at all times, to maintain interpersonal distance and not to fail to comply with these measures.

In this link you will find the different types of masks and their characteristics.

Preventive measures against direct contact with respiratory droplets:

  • Maintain a distance of one metre between people (social distance).
  • Covering your mouth and nose with the crook of your elbow when sneezing or coughing
  • Use disposable tissues

When can air transfers take place? Healthcare workers are particularly exposed to the risk of infection as they have to perform manoeuvres with covid-19 infected patients. Airborne transfer can occur through aerosol generation during intubation, bronchoscopy, nebulised treatment, ventilation procedures, tracheotomy or cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Constant contact with infected people and repeated treatment puts health workers at greater risk than the rest of the population.

Contact with surfaces that have been touched by an infected person

One of the indications that has been made since the beginning of the crisis is the need to wash our hands constantly and to clean and disinfect all surfacesWhy?

As potential transmitters, we can transmit the virus to all surfaces by sneezing or coughing. If a person then If you touch that surface with your hands and then touch your face, you are at risk of contracting the virus.

Let us also remember that the virus remains in the materials for hours. For example, on stainless steel and plastic, the virus is viable 72 hours after contact with these surfaces. On cardboard, contamination can last up to 24 hours and on copper, about 3 hours.

Preventive measures against direct contact with infected surfaces:

  • On returning from shopping, thoroughly clean all packaging. In the food chain, prevention measures are strict, but we must continue this prevention at home.
  • Whenever you touch a surface, wash your hands or sanitise with a specific liquid.
  • Wear clean gloves when you go out and afterwards, throw them away or wash them like you wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently.


Mariano Bueno

Dr. Mariano Bueno and his team

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