Human coronaviruses are usually spread through the air by coughing, sneezing, or close personal contact. It is better to refrain from touching or shaking hands. It is possible to contract COVID-19 even by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your face (specifically one’s own mouth, nose or eyes).
- When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe they produce respiratory droplets. These droplets can range in size from larger droplets (some of which are visible) to smaller droplets. Small droplets can also form particles when they dry very quickly in the airstream.
- Infections occur mainly through exposure to respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Respiratory droplets cause infection when they are inhaled or deposited on mucous membranes, such as those that line the inside of the nose and mouth.
- As the respiratory droplets travel further from the person with COVID-19, the concentration of these droplets decreases. Larger droplets fall out of the air due to gravity. Smaller droplets and particles spread apart in the air.
- With passing time, the amount of infectious virus in respiratory droplets also decreases.
For more information on how COVID-19 Spreads, please visit the CDC's website.