These People Spread COVID More Than Others, Says New Study

Leah Groth
·2 min read

Over the course of the pandemic, researchers have identified some people who are more likely to spread COVID-19 to others. One of the more obvious groups? Younger adults, who are less likely to show symptoms and more likely to socialize. However, researchers recently identified another more surprising group of people who are more likely to be superspreaders. Read on to find out who they are—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

People With a Higher BMI are More Likely to Spread COVID, Says Study

According to a new study published online February 9 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences people who have a higher body mass index (BMI) and are older in age are more likely to spread COVID-19 to others. Why? According to researchers, they exhale more respiratory droplets.

David A. Edwards, Ph.D., founder and chief scientific officer of Sensory Cloud, Boston, Massachusetts, and formerly professor of bioengineering at Harvard University, Boston, and colleagues, measured respiratory particles exhaled by 194 healthy individuals and in eight primates who had been “experimentally infected” with SARS-CoV-2. They found that those in the top 18$ of BMI multiplied by age (BMI-years) exhaled 80 percent of the bioaerosols. Additionally, half of the group with the lowest BMI-years, exhaled significantly less than the other half with the highest BMI-years.

"We have done a number of other studies over the last 9 months, and we always see this. The signature of superspreading of airborne infectious disease may be quite directly related to this phenotypical variation in exhaled respiratory droplets between individuals," Edwards told Medscape.

"Part of your immune system is your mucus. So, when you lose that barrier function, there's a weakening of the immune system. We think with all these factors ― [increasing] BMI, age, infection ― there's a correlation between weakened immunity and more respiratory droplets."

Dr. Edwards believes that a product produced by his company—FEND ("fast emergency nasal defence")—could effectively suppress airway droplets in the nasal passages.

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How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic

So follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.