COVID-19 is highly contagious. It is spread through indoor air and on infected surfaces.
Here are two common places where you could be infected, and how to reduce your risk.
Less than1 person will be infected if:
Talking releases 50 times more virus-laden particles, called aerosols, than not speaking. These particles can affect people within about 16 feet in minutes. These aerosols, are smaller than dust particles and can hang in the air for hours. Because the aerosols become more concentrated over time, the longer you stay inside at a gathering, the more exposed you are to the virus if someone in the same place has it.
Remember that about 20% of people who have coronavirus infections do not have symptoms, so you really can’t tell who is safe to be around.
Small gatherings can be less risky if they are held outdoor or ventilated with windows, and if attendees stay at least six feet apart, wear masks and don’t stay long.
Sources: Covid Airborne Transmission Estimator and El País
This information has been reviewed and approved by Carrie Horn, MD (November 2020).
The information on our website is medically reviewed and accurate at the time of publication. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, information may have since changed. CDC.gov and your state’s health department may offer additional guidance.