[Date of latest publication cited: December 20, 2020]
Since the pandemic started, many organizations published information on these topics in three types of formats:
- Medical and public health science journals published hundreds of thousands of new research reports on COVID-19. It is impossible to keep up with reading them, so scientists needed to create new methods of vetting, selecting, organizing, and synthesizing them (Bauchner et al.; Brainard; Callaway; Else; The Lancet Global Health “Publishing”; Packer). And most people have not learned how to search the many science journals and read the technical vocabulary.
- A variety of news media published summaries of the research articles in plain language which each linked to a one or a few research articles, often within hours after the scientific journal article was published. But these news stories are scattered across many print, TV, and online locations. Then other stories displace them. Often a new discovery partially contradicts previous ones. People wondered, which recommendation should I and our group members act on? How can I find that explanation or recommendation I saw days ago?
- Public health organizations, health experts, and some online magazines posted summaries of what people should do in different situations. But they had few links to the research articles, if a reader wanted to know the science behind the recommendation. Some had difficulties keeping up with the new research studies published each day, so many of those public health web pages did not have information published in the last few weeks (Aubrey, Wamsley, Wroth; Bromage; California; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Considerations…”; “Coronavirus”; “COVID-19 Employer…”; “Funeral…”; “When…”; “Recommendation regarding…”; “Returning…”; Ernst, Beamer; Lopez, Northrop; San Diego County; Sneider; World Health Organization “Coronavirus”).
So this web page meets the needs of people who want a synopsis of the latest discoveries on COVID-19 transmission and prevention, in one location, in plain English, with links and references to the many research articles supporting each statement. Most people’s information needs are satisfied by the news reports and public health recommendations. But many health professionals, researchers, interested people, and leaders of organizations and groups would want this web page’s “one stop shopping” summary with links to each scientific article explaining the reasons for the recommendations. Most articles referred to here are peer-reviewed journal publications, or preprint postings from medRxiv and bioRxiv, or popular science articles, or companies’ web sites I selected. I have served as a peer reviewer for some science journals, so I am doing a preliminary review to choose some articles for this web site.
Most articles referred to here are peer-reviewed journal publications or preprint postings from medRxiv and bioRxiv. Some are popular science articles, or companies’ web sites I selected. I especially used the following online publications:
Tulane Outbreak Daily, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University
The Lancet. COVID-19 Resource Centre.
CIDRAP Daily News Headlines. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
Nature Briefing, and Nature News
National Geographic Coronavirus Update, and Coronavirus Coverage
The Conversation, COVID-19.
I also used methods of systematic scientific literature reviews, by searching PubMed, medRxiv, bioRxiv, for peer-reviewed or good quality articles, preprints, and research reports specifically on transmission routes of coronavirus disease COVID-19, using the search terms “coronavirus”, “COVID-19”, “SARS-CoV-2”, “2019-nCoV”, “transmission”, “saliva”, “mucous”, “blood”, “feces”, “fecal”, “fomite”, “surface”, “droplet”, “aerosol”, “asymptomatic”, “pregnancy”, “birth”, “childbirth”, “dog”, “cat”, “sexual transmission”, “vagina”, “testes”, “semen”, and “food”. I included original research studies of the community transmission routes of COVID-19 infected people. I excluded publications on: nosocomial infections in health care facilities; pathology; medical treatment; other coronaviruses; epidemiology and demographic statistics and disparities; mathematical models and predictions; and zoonotic origins from animals. Some news media announced summaries of original research within hours of publication, before PubMed and peer-reviewed summary articles did, so news served as quick bridges to up-to-date research. Articles published in English, and some translated from Chinese, were included.
Researchers are publishing new articles daily, so I will continue updating and revising this web page daily.