Exhaled respiratory droplets increase in number with the onset of COVID-19 infection — and with aging and obesity

Superspreading events have distinguished the COVID-19 pandemic from the early outbreak of the disease. Now, research from Harvard University, Tulane University, MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital finds that a critical factor in these and other transmission events is the propensity of certain individuals to exhale large numbers of small respiratory droplets. The researchers found that age, obesity and COVID-19 infection all correlate with a propensity to breathe out more respiratory droplets.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Understanding the source and variance of respiratory droplet generation may lead to effective approaches to reducing COVID-19 infection and transmission.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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