The main transmitters are people, as hosts of the coronavirus. COVID spreads through water droplets that contain the virus secreted by an infected person.
Secretions include saliva and respiratory droplets released from mouths or noses of infected people when they cough, sneeze, speak and sing, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.
If you are in close contact (just over three feet from an infected person) you can catch COVID-19 when the infectious droplets get into your mouth, nose or eyes.
Which is why wearing a mask, which has been proven to stop droplets from transmitting as seen in our last piece here, is effective.
Secondly, infected people may leave infected droplets on objects and surfaces such as door knobs, the kitchen kettle and lift buttons when they sneeze on, cough on, or touch these surfaces. Other people then become (indirectly) infected by touching these surfaces, then touching their eyes, noses or mouths before cleaning their hands.
Here lies the trouble. Whether at home or in the office, an infected person is most infectious one to three days before symptoms appear and that could take up to 14 days. Which means that your seemingly healthy relative or colleague could be transmitting COVID-19 to you directly or indirectly in the house and office long before you realise you have to take precautions.
So what do you do to prevent transmission?
- Wear a mask. Read our story here.
- Wash your hands frequently, for 20 seconds each time. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- At home, stay at least 6 feet away from a sick family member or from all colleagues in the office and the public.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.The Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) has more details here.
- New research suggests engineering controls to stop spread through pipes and plumbing in buildings. Here are some suggestions from the Environmental US U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on what to do.