How air conditioners could spread COVID-19.


In the dog days of August, air conditioning is everywhere.

Is that a problem when it comes to the spread of the coronavirus?

The answer to that question rests on the way the virus is transmitted — a topic that is still being researched.

Droplet transmission is considered the most common method: A virus-filled particle of breath or spittle comes out of the nose or mouth of an infected individual when they breathe, speak, cough or sneeze. These droplets generally disperse within a few feet of the person who expels them. But if they come into contact with someone’s eyes, nose or mouth, they can transmit the virus.

Then there’s aerosol transmission — when an infected person expels microscopic infectious particles so tiny that they linger in the air and spread from person to person in air currents. Since they are much smaller than droplets, aerosols can travel greater distances and get deep into the lungs of someone who inhales them.

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