On January 4, a coalition of Canadian scientists, physicians, occupational hygienists and others sent an open letter to government officials regarding aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The letter was signed by more than 500 professionals and scientists, including ECOH occupational hygienists.
In our advice to clients since the beginning of the pandemic, ECOH has emphasized the potential for aerosol transmission of the virus and the importance of ventilation in controlling disease risks. The aerosols of concern are droplets and small particles that are emitted into the air when someone coughs, sneezes, laughs, talks, sings, or even breathes. If the person emitting the aerosols has COVID-19, people nearby may become infected. The virus can be transmitted at close range to people who are close to the infected person. People in the same room but farther away may be infected if the space is poorly ventilated and the concentration of infectious aerosols builds up in the air.
The open letter sounds a similar theme about aerosols, stating that:
The rapid global spread of COVID-19 has sparked unprecedented cross-disciplinary research. Contributions from the fields of engineering, life science, aerosol science, medicine, occupational hygiene and epidemiology are driving a paradigm shift in our understanding of aerosol transmission of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.
The letter calls on provincial governments to update COVID-19 guidance to recognize the risks of aerosol transmission and the importance of control measures such as ventilation.
More details on aerosol transmission and ventilation were provided by ECOH in some of our webinars including one with Mat4Site Engineers that you can view here.
If you want to read or sign the letter, you can do so here: English French