Important Update: 2019-nCoV Can Be Transmitted in 3 Ways

On February 8, the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council convened to confirm the temporary name of the coronavirus as novel coronavirus pneumonia, also abbreviated and referred to as NCP. 

A press conference was also held in Shanghai at 2 p.m. On the press conference revealed that the main causes of NCP transmission from human to human can be traced by family clusters; namely, that once a family member has contracted the virus, other family members living in the same household or in their vicinity are highly vulnerable.

With that in mind, health and epidemic prevention experts have revealed that NCP infections can occur in one of three ways: (1) Direct transmission, (2) Aerosol transmission, and (3) Contact transmission.

Direct transmission

This novel pathogen can be transmitted from one human to another by way of droplets from an infected patients sneeze, cough, or simply talking. Exhaled gas inhaled directly from a close range also poses a threat.

Aerosol transmission

This is slightly trickier than the first one, as infected droplets can also get mixed up in the air to form aerosols that can cause an infection when inhaling such particles.
The epidemiology of aerosols, which can remain airborne for long periods of time, is that susceptible people can become infected by inhaling "virus-containing aerosol particles" suspended in the air without meeting the sick person.

Hence the crucial importance of wearing a mask to protect yourself not just from people coughing near your face but for other invisible infectious particles.

Important note: The process of excretion can also produce aerosols.

On February 1, 2020, the Third People's Hospital of Shenzhen tested positive for new coronavirus nucleic acid (RNA) in the feces of several patients who had already contracted the new coronavirus. As excretion involved soft materials and complex fluids (liquids and gases), these processes may lead to the natural production of aerosols.

Contact transmission

Contact transmission refers to droplets deposited on the surface of certain places and objects and the subsequent action of touching our own nose, mouth, eyes and other places unconsciously without having properly washed our hands first, thereby resulting in infection through physical contact.

Preventing the NCP from spreading among families and communities:

Below are seven guidelines for families to take into serious consideration to prevent any potential virus threat from spreading any further:

1. Cancel all social activities and encourage relatives and friends from postponing any plans to visit if you live in a key epidemic area.

2. Ventilate your home by opening your windows and maintaining good circulation of indoor air.

3. Clean your home frequently - daily if necessary - by disinfecting your doorknobs, tables, chairs, toilet seat, and any other area of the house with 75% ethanol or something else containing chlorine to help kill pathogens such as the NCP.

4. Maintain the highest level of personal hygiene by continuously washing your hands with running water, soap and/or hand sanitizer before and after using the toilet or returning home; cover your mouth with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing inside your home.

5. Avoid exchanging personal items that you or someone else might use on a daily basis. When eating together, use one set of cutlery or chopsticks to divide portions amongst yourselves and use your own cutlery to eat your food.

6. Patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments. If you happen to be living and sleeping in the same room as other family members, you should be wearing a mask at all times.

7. Pay close attention to the health of other family members. Any symptoms of fever, cough or other discomforts should be reported to your local hospital or health department immediately. Put on a mask and accompany your family member to receive treatment for further investigation. 

Only by working together and being more aware of virus spread prevention measures will we be able to fight the novel coronavirus pneumonia. With all this information, the bottom line is: lets keep up with good personal hygiene habits.