Physics of COVID-19 Transmission

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Since the beginning of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), there has been significant public confusion and scientific controversy over the modes of transmission and the most effective methods to protect against them, as reflected in changes in public health guidance. Official safety guidelines have emphasized surface disinfection and strict social distancing, despite growing scientific evidence for respiratory aerosol transmission, extending well beyond these arbitrary distances.

In this course, we will teach you the scientific principles to quantitatively assess the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 in an indoor space based on various factors such as the occupancy, the time spent in the space, the dimensions of the room, the use of face masks, ventilation, air filtration, humidity, the respiratory activities involved, and so forth. You will learn how each factor will quantitatively affect the rate of transmission, but most importantly, how these factors interact, which is not yet reflected in current public health guidance. The technical contents and all assessments are accessible to anyone with some general undergraduate-level knowledge in STEM, but there are also optional derivations intended for graduate students and professionals. There are also interview videos intended for learners at all levels which assume no particular quantitative scientific knowledge.

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