Public transport environments are thought to play a key role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 worldwide. Indeed, high crowding indexes (i.e. high numbers of people relative to the vehicle size), inadequate clean air supply, and frequent extended exposure durations make transport environments potential hotspots for transmission of respiratory infections. During the COVID-19 pandemic, generic mitigation measures (e.g. physical distancing) have been applied without also considering the airborne transmission route. This is due to the lack of quantified data about airborne contagion risk in transport environments. In this study, we apply a novel combination of close proximity and room-scale risk assessment approaches for people sharing public transport environments to predict their contagion risk due to SARS-CoV-2 respiratory infection. In particular, the individual infection risk of susceptible subjects and the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 (expressed through the reproduction number) are evaluated for two types of buses, differing in terms of exposure time and crowding index: urban and long-distance buses. Infection risk and reproduction number are calculated for different scenarios as a function of the ventilation rates (both measured and estimated according to standards), crowding indexes, and travel times. The results show that for urban buses, the close proximity contribution significantly affects the maximum occupancy to maintain a reproductive number of <1. In particular, full occupancy of the bus would be permitted only for an infected subject breathing, whereas for an infected subject speaking, masking would be required. For long-distance buses, full occupancy of the bus can be maintained only if specific mitigation solutions are simultaneously applied. For example, for an infected person speaking for 1 h, appropriate filtration of the recirculated air and simultaneous use of FFP2 masks would permit full occupancy of the bus for a period of almost 8 h. Otherwise, a high percentage of immunized persons (>80%) would be needed.

Assessment of SARS-CoV-2 airborne infection transmission risk in public buses

G. Riccio;
2022

Abstract

Public transport environments are thought to play a key role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 worldwide. Indeed, high crowding indexes (i.e. high numbers of people relative to the vehicle size), inadequate clean air supply, and frequent extended exposure durations make transport environments potential hotspots for transmission of respiratory infections. During the COVID-19 pandemic, generic mitigation measures (e.g. physical distancing) have been applied without also considering the airborne transmission route. This is due to the lack of quantified data about airborne contagion risk in transport environments. In this study, we apply a novel combination of close proximity and room-scale risk assessment approaches for people sharing public transport environments to predict their contagion risk due to SARS-CoV-2 respiratory infection. In particular, the individual infection risk of susceptible subjects and the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 (expressed through the reproduction number) are evaluated for two types of buses, differing in terms of exposure time and crowding index: urban and long-distance buses. Infection risk and reproduction number are calculated for different scenarios as a function of the ventilation rates (both measured and estimated according to standards), crowding indexes, and travel times. The results show that for urban buses, the close proximity contribution significantly affects the maximum occupancy to maintain a reproductive number of <1. In particular, full occupancy of the bus would be permitted only for an infected subject breathing, whereas for an infected subject speaking, masking would be required. For long-distance buses, full occupancy of the bus can be maintained only if specific mitigation solutions are simultaneously applied. For example, for an infected person speaking for 1 h, appropriate filtration of the recirculated air and simultaneous use of FFP2 masks would permit full occupancy of the bus for a period of almost 8 h. Otherwise, a high percentage of immunized persons (>80%) would be needed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/893467
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