Can I get coronavirus from riding an elevator?

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Can I get COVID19 from riding an elevator? | via nytimes

For people who live or work in tall buildings, taking an elevator feels riskier in the time of coronavirus. Even if we can avoid riding the elevator with other people, are we still riding with the germs they left behind?

But even if you’re riding the elevator alone, there are other ways you might catch the coronavirus, although the risk is low. Elevator buttons and side rails are a potential risk if your hands become contaminated and you touch your face. And what about the elevator air? If you step into an elevator after an infected person has been riding in it, can you breathe in floating germs?

Corsi decided to model a hypothetical elevator ride using common elevator speeds, door closing times and ventilation systems. In this model, infected Passenger A walks into an elevator on the first floor and rides alone for 31 seconds to the 10th floor of a residential building. During the ride, the passenger, who is not wearing a mask, coughs and talks on a cellphone, exhaling tiny droplets that contain the virus.

The bigger question is whether Passenger B would get sick after being exposed to lingering viral particles during a short elevator ride. In a single cough, a person can cough a few thousand or even 300,000 particles, and doctors still don’t know what dose of coronavirus — one infectious viral particle, or thousands — is needed to make a person sick.

While it’s possible that coronavirus droplets can remain in the elevator air for a period of time, in the real world, the main mode of transmission is through close exposure to an infected person who coughs or exhales droplets in your presence.

 

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