Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Health care workers use a nasal swab to test a person for COVID-19 at a pop up testing site at the Koinonia Worship Center and Village on July 22, 2020 in Pembroke Park, Florida. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Study Shows 'Unambiguous Evidence' Covid-19 Infectious in the Air, Researchers Claim

While study not yet peer-reviewed, one expert said: "If this isn’t a smoking gun, then I don’t know what is."

Lisa Newcomb

A research team at the University of Florida has confirmed Covid-19 does live in aerosol droplets, and that the standard 6-foot social distancing protocols used around the world as safety precautions may not be sufficient.

"It's unambiguous evidence that there is infectious virus in aerosols," Linsey Marr, an expert in airborne spread of viruses who was not involved in the work told the New York Times

For this study, researchers collected air samples from a room in a hospital ward dedicated to Covid-19 patients who were not subject to procedures that are known to produce aerosols, the Times reported.

The research team collected two sets of samples, one at approximately 7 feet from the patients and another at about 16 feet, and found that Covid-19 virus contained in samples at both distances could infect cells in a lab dish.

Although not peer reviewed, scientists are pointing to this study as a potential 'smoking gun,' regarding the issue of aeorsol transmission.

News of the study comes as Covid-19 cases in the United States continue to climb, and as many states continue reopening plans. As of Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control reported more than 5 million confimed cases in the U.S. and more than 162,000 deaths. Texas Governor Greg Abbot, a Republican, urged vigilance among his constituents Tuesday, as the Lone Star State attempts to reopen after becoming a Covid-19 hotspot in July.

"The numbers are moving in the right direction," Abbot told The Teaxs Tribune, "but it is fair to say that hospital capacity for those with COVID-19 remains too high."

Top U.S. Infectious Disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has held his post as director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has previously cautioned about the possibility and probability of Covid-19 transmission via aerosol droplets. If confirmed, the initial findings of the University of Florida study would bolster his concerns, and indicate the virus can survive greater distances than once thought.

"We know that indoors, those distance rules don’t matter anymore," Dr. Robyn Schofield, an atmospheric chemist at Melbourne University in Australia, who measures aerosols over the ocean told the the Times. "It takes about five minutes for small aerosols to traverse the room even in still air."

As Americans grapple with potential school reopenings and the majority of voters continue to favor remote-learning alternatives to in-person schooling, health experts continue to advocate wearing masks to limit Covid-19 transmission. A group of 12,000 infectious disease experts last week sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, who heads up the U.S.' Coronoavirus Task Force, urging him to push for a federal mask mandate which, they wrote, "is needed to save lives." 

"Specifically, we urge you to publicly issue a strong federal directive calling for mask requirements in all states," the letter, signed by top leaders of the  Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association read, "to launch a public education campaign about the importance of wearing masks or face coverings, and to require all individuals in the White House complex to wear a mask at all times when they are in the company of others, both for their own protection and to serve as role models for our country."

Pence has refused to issue such a mandate, arguing he doesn't think there is a need for it.

Still, the new study ought to be enough to give people pause, Dr. John Lednicky, the team's lead virologist at the University of Florida, told the Times.

"We can grow the virus from air—I think that should be the important take-home lesson," he said.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Poll Shows Majority Oppose Supreme Court's Attack on Fundamental Rights

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they're now concerned the court will attack marriage equality and the right to obtain contraception.

Julia Conley ·


Global Windfall Profit Tax of 90% Needed to Address 'Catastrophic' Food, Climate Crises: Oxfam

Taxing the excess profits of large corporations within the G7 alone could raise an estimated $430 billion to fight world hunger, deliver vaccines to the entire world, and make a giant dent in the fight to drive down fossil fuel pollution and jumpstart the necessary renewable energy transition.

Jon Queally ·


NATO to Boost Ranks of High-Readiness Forces by 650% to Over 300,000

Anti-war campaigners responded that "this is not the path to peace and will not make the world safer."

Jake Johnson ·


Ilhan Omar Says Plan to Fix Supreme Court Must Include Impeachment Probes

"We need an impeachment investigation into Clarence Thomas' role in the January 6th coup, as well as into Gorsuch, Alito, Barrett, and Kavanaugh's testimony on Roe during their confirmation hearings," said the Minnesota Democrat.

Jake Johnson ·


Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo