Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness

April 6, 2020

Could SARS-CoV-2 be transmitted via speech droplets?



  • Anfinrud et al describe their use of laser light-scattering to detect SARS-CoV-2 droplet emission while speaking and suggest that it could be a major mode of transmission. While droplets emitted from speaking are smaller than those emitted when coughing or sneezing, they are sufficiently large to carry other respiratory pathogens, such as the measles virus and influenza virus, and are more numerous than droplets from coughing. 
  • The authors suggest that, if speaking proves to be a major mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, wearing cloth face masks in addition to strict social distancing and hand washing could significantly decrease transmission until a vaccine becomes available. 

Anfinrud et al. (Apr 6, 2020). Could SARS-CoV-2 be transmitted via speech droplets? Pre-print downloaded Apr 6 from