COVID-19 Spread Through AC Air Flow In China Restaurant

Publish On: 21 Apr, 2020 03:21 PM | Updated   |   Shivalik  

The deadly COVID-19, which first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December, has gripped the world by the throat. Economies have come to a standstill as countries announce partial or complete lockdowns in a bid to contain the spread of this highly infectious virus.  

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Reportedly, nine people from three families contracted the novel virus on January 29 while eating at a restaurant in Guangzhou, China. However, 81 others who were in the restaurant did not. 

As per an analysis by Center for Disease Control (CDC) experts in the mainland, the contraction took place because the three families, even though on separate tables, were in the draught of the same air conditioner as the index patient. 

This sheds light on two important insights--  how the virus travels (The coronavirus only infected people sharing the same air current, while others in the eatery were safe); the challenge in detecting infected persons (the index patient did not have any symptoms); and consequences for closed, air-conditioned spaces (restaurants, offices, even public transport). 

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“On January 23, family A travelled from Wuhan and arrived in Guangzhou. On January 24, the index case-patient (patient A1) ate lunch with 3 other family members (A2–A4) at restaurant X. Two other families, B and C, sat at neighbouring tables. Later that day, patient A1 experienced fever and cough and went to the hospital. By February 5, a total of nine others (four members of family A, three members of family B, and two members of family C) had become ill with Covid-19,” said the research letter published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

According to the research, COVID-19 spread through droplets carried in the air-conditioning draught. “Aerosol transmission” did not take place as nearby tables (not in the line of the air flow) were not infected.