An Overview on the Role of Relative Humidity in Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Indoor Environments
COVID-19 disease is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which originated in Wuhan, China and spread with an astonishing rate across the world. The transmission routes of SARS-CoV-2 are still debated, but recent evidence strongly suggests that COVID-19 could be transmitted via air in poorly ventilated places. Some studies also suggest the higher surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 as compared to SARS-CoV-1. It is also possible that small viral particles may enter into indoor environments from the various emission sources aided by environmental factors such as relative humidity, wind speed, temperature, thus representing a type of an aerosol transmission. Here, we explore the role of relative humidity in airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus in indoor environments based on recent studies around the world. Humidity affects both the evaporation kinematics and particle growth. In dry indoor places i.e., less humidity (< 40% RH), the chances of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 are higher than that of humid places (i.e., > 90% RH). Based on earlier studies, a relative humidity of 40–60% was found to be optimal for human health in indoor places. Thus, it is extremely important to set a minimum relative humidity standard for indoor environments such as hospitals, offices and public transports for minimization of airborne spread of SARS-CoV-2. © The Author(s).