Indoor settings with poor airflow are considered one of the highest risk environments. Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to warn that coronavirus can “sometimes be spread by airborne transmission”, meaning particles could “linger in the air” in poorly ventilated indoor areas “for hours”.
Dr Michael Head, a global health expert at the University of Southampton, says: “The start of the chain of transmission is often from an indoor crowded setting such as a pub.” Choose a setting with good ventilation and social distancing in place, which isn’t too noisy – studies from London and Japan show places where people have to shout to communicate may have higher transmission rates.
Washing your hands, and wearing a face covering are still considered the best way to protect yourself indoors. Although face coverings are not mandatory outside in the UK – as they now are in Italy and some parts of France – they must be worn in shops, restaurants and bars, and as the rainy weather arrives, experts have warned that they fail to work if they get wet. Damp face masks are less effective at filtering out bacteria and are more likely to expel droplets breathed out by the wearer, so it’s a good idea to keep a spare with you.
“Masks need to be changed regularly and this is particularly important to understand in damp and wet weather,” said Professor Tim Spector, leading epidemiologist and head of the Covid Symptom Tracker app, last week.