Researchers in the UK, Norway and the US, examined a wide range of personal and work-related predictors of transmission.
They said that the early results – from a survey of 2,000 people – suggested that aerosol transmission of the virus is very likely, with taller people at twice the risk.
It’s something that would not be expected if transmission was exclusively through droplets, they said.
‘Spread in air’
Aerosols can accumulate in poorly ventilated areas and are carried by air currents.
Droplets, however, are bigger than aerosols and are thought to travel relatively short distances and drop quickly from the air.
Though the paper is yet to be peer reviewed, the authors feel its implications on the debate over aerosol transmission should be made available to the wider community.
The survey also explores the impacts of personal characteristics, circumstances and working conditions.
Using a shared kitchen or accommodation was also a significant factor, especially in the US where the odds are 3.5 times as high, while in the UK it was 1.7 times higher.
And people with natural science degrees in the UK were slightly less likely to get the disease, compared with those in the US – even when controlling for car ownership and other socio-economic information.
The experts argue that it may be an indication of more careful shielding and being able to socially distance in the UK.