Coronavirus could be airborne, Chinese officials claim

Zeng Qun, the deputy head of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, told a press briefing on Saturday that the virus can be spread via direct transmission, which involves contact with the infected person. However, the China Daily newspaper reported Zeng also suggested the new member of the large coronavirus family—which includes infections like the common cold as well as SARS—is capable of aerosol transmission.

At a briefing held by the municipal government on the bug which has killed over 900 people, Zeng said: “Aerosol transmission refers to the mixing of the virus with droplets in the air to form aerosols, which causes infection after inhalation, according to medical experts.”

As such, these types of diseases can linger in the air for long periods of time. Only a few diseases spread this way, including tuberculosis and measles.