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possible but rare

Does coronavirus spread through the air? Scientists have doubts.

There isn't yet clarity regarding whether the coronavirus can survive and spread through the air. The short answer among scientists seems to be, yes, but only rarely, Stat News reports.

One study conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases tested out the hypothesis in a controlled lab setting replicating the ideal conditions for the virus, thus creating a worst-case situation for humans. It showed the virus could survive in the air for multiple hours, but that's reportedly likely an overestimate because it's not a representation of real-world conditions.

In actuality, scientists tentatively think the virus can only last under very limited conditions for a few seconds in the air at best. That, of course, leaves some room for aerosol transmissions, but "you have to distinguish between what's possible and what's actually happening," microbiologist and physician Stanley Perlman of the University of Iowa told Stat News. And what's happening still indicates the disease primarily spreads through droplets.

"If it could easily exist as an aerosol, we would be seeing much greater levels of transmission," said epidemiologist Michael LeVasseur of Drexel University. "And we would be seeing a different pattern in who's getting infected."

Indeed, the symptomatic infection rate, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is only 0.45 percent among patients' close contacts who are not household members, among whom it's reportedly 10.5 percent. Other research has found no coronavirus particles in the air in the hospital rooms of COVID-19 patients. All of that further suggests it's very rare for the virus to exist in the air. Read more at Stat News.