How COVID Spreads


Droplets and Aerosols

When someone coughs or sneezes, some big drops of mucus leave their mouth. These large drops, or ‘droplets’, can carry the virus. Large drops can go far before falling to the floor. They can travel 6 to 12 feet. Six feet is the length of one twin mattress.

When someone talks or breathes, tiny drops leave their mouths and noses. These tiny drops, or ‘aerosols’ can hold the virus and float in the air for hours. The tiny drops can spread around the room. Anyone in the room can breathe them in.

Learn more about how COVID-19 is spread

Staying Safe

  • Keep windows open to bring clean air inside. If possible, have windows or doors on more than one wall open to create cross ventilation.
  • Spend only short amounts of time indoors when there are lots of people in the room. This is most important when there is no cross ventilation and no air purifiers.
  • Clean the air with air purifiers. They should have ‘high efficiency particiulate air’ or HEPA filters.
  • When you can, stand far away from other people
  • Vaccines with boosters can reduce spread of virus.

For more information on staying safe, check out the PCDC pages on ventilation and layers of protection.

Why wear a mask?

  • Masks reduce the spread of the virus and protect you and those around you
  • The best masks are N95, KN95, KF94, or surgical masks
  • Cloth masks do not work to stop tiny droplets.
  • Masks work best when more people wear them

For more information on masks, check out the PCDC page on masking.

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