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'Absolutely no evidence' that COVID-19 is airborne, B.C. health official says
VANCOUVER -- While COVID-19 has spread globally for months, many questions still remain about the relatively new virus.
One of B.C.'s top health officials, however, says medical professionals have a pretty clear picture of how the virus is transmitted.
"There is absolutely no evidence that this disease is airborne, and we know that if it were airborne, then the measures that we took to control COVID-19 would not have worked," Dr. Reka Gustafson, B.C.'s deputy provincial health officer, told CTV Morning Live Monday.
"We are very confident that the majority of transmission of this virus is through the droplet and contact route."
Gustafson explained that airborne diseases – like measles or chickenpox – have a different way of transmission.
"The overwhelming majority of (COVID-19) transmissions occur through close, prolonged contact and that is not the pattern of transmission we see through airborne diseases," she said.
The BC Centre for Disease Control explains airborne transmission happens when small, evaporated droplets float in the air for a long period of time. In the case of droplets, however, they typically only spread a couple of metres before falling to the ground.
The confusion, Gustafson said, is that droplets of the virus can be in theory be aerosolized in a lab, but that's not how it typically spreads in the real world.
With that, Gustafson says the most important thing for people to do is to stay home if they're sick and to keep physically distancing when possible. Hand washing is also important, she said, and wearing a mask is a helpful way to prevent transmission to other people.
Gustafon's comments are part of a six minute interview where she also talks about students going back to school, physical distancing and B.C.'s recovery plan. Watch the full interview above.