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Infection Risk Assessment of COVID-19 through Aerosol Transmission: a Case Study of South China Seafood Market

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posted on 05.10.2020, 15:41 by Xiaole Zhang, Zheng Ji, Yang Yue, Huan Liu, Jing Wang
The Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is rapidly spreading throughout the world. Aerosol is a potential transmission route. We conducted the quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) to evaluate the aerosol transmission risk by using the South China Seafood Market as an example. The key processes were integrated, including viral shedding, dispersion, deposition in air, biologic decay, lung deposition, and the infection risk based on the dose–response model. The available hospital bed for COVID-19 treatment per capita (1.17 × 10–3) in Wuhan was adopted as a reference for manageable risk. The median risk of a customer to acquire SARS-CoV-2 infection via the aerosol route after 1 h of exposure in the market with one infected shopkeeper was about 2.23 × 10–5 (95% confidence interval: 1.90 × 10–6 to 2.34 × 10–4). The upper bound could increase and become close to the manageable risk with multiple infected shopkeepers. More detailed risk assessment should be conducted in poorly ventilated markets with multiple infected cases. The uncertainties were mainly due to the limited information on the dose–response relation and the viral shedding which need further studies. The risk rapidly decreased outside the market due to the dilution by ambient air and became below 10–6 at 5 m away from the exit.