Transmission of COVID-19 through the air can occur over distances greater than six feet. Particles from an infected person can move around a room or interior space and remain in the air for hours after they have left. The virus can also spread if someone touches their eyes, nose, or mouth after coming into contact with a contaminated surface or object. Without cleaning or disinfecting, the virus can stay on surfaces for hours to days, but the risk of infection is low.
When people with COVID-19 infection breathe out, clear their throat, cough, sneeze, talk, or breathe through their nose or mouth, droplets of all different sizes containing the virus are expelled into the air. Outdoors, fresh air circulation disperses drifting droplets quickly, so wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance (6 feet or more) is very effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in outdoor spaces where air moves.