A: The new variants don’t defy the laws of physics and are transmitted the same way as all the other variants of SARS-CoV-2, so you can reduce risk by using your #SMARTS.
We NEVER thought when we made this infographic in Summer 2020 together with Impact (updated in 2021 with “SHOTS”) that these basic principles would be so evergreen. But with SARS-CoV-2 here to stay as a part of our infectious disease landscape, these basic prevention tools continue to help reduce risk.
Recall, the biggest risk for transmission in the presence of an infected person is SHARING AIR with someone, breathing the air that they exhale. The exhaled breath contains particles most concentrated close to the person breathing or speaking (picture your breath outside on a cold day).
❇️ SPACE & MASKS can minimize your breathing in the exhaled breath of others. The virus is carried by particles of mucus and saliva, so the distance these can travel is not changed by the new variant, nor is their ability to physically penetrate a mask.
And we know, staying 6 feet away from anyone outside of your household is no longer a realistic ask for many, but the idea of SPACE reducing airborne risk still holds!)
❇️ AIR: While outside is best, remember that OUTSIDE IS NOT MAGIC if you are in close contact, especially without a mask. You can still breathe in that person’s breath.
Indoors, ventilation (meaning introducing outside air) is key. This outside air dilutes any virus in the air, pushes it outdoors, and stops it from accumulating indoors. HVAC systems can be set to bring in maximal outside air, but it’s also as easy as OPENING DOORS & WINDOWS.
❇️ RESTRICT: Fewer people in a room also limits the concentration of exhaled breath in the room.
❇️ TIME: Shorter interactions with potentially infectious people is safer.
❇️ SHOTS: If you are eligible, get a booster dose now (or a first or second shot, of course–it’s never too late!).
💥 Remember the trusty Swiss Cheese model—even lots of small measures with holes stacked together can add up to big protection.
Those Nerdy Girls