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A group of scientists in China have considered the potential for the built environment to aid the spread of SARS-CoV-2. They found air conditioning may have lead three families in Guangzhou, China to develop COVID-19.
Between January 26 and February 10 of this year, 10 members of three families who ate at the same air-conditioned, windowless, restaurant in the port city northwest of Hong Kong caught the coronavirus. One of the families had recently returned from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the pandemic.
"We conclude that in this outbreak, droplet transmission was prompted by air-conditioned ventilation," the team said. However, the authors acknowledged their study was limited as they did not conduct an experiment simulating the potential spread in the restaurant, and did not estimate the risk of infection of asymptomatic family members and other diners.
The results were published as an early release article of a research letter due to be published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.