Tall people more likely to test positive for COVID-19 - survey

Tall people more likely to test positive for COVID-19 - survey
Photo credit: Getty Images

A new survey says people taller than 180 centimetres are twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19.

Two-thousand people from the United Kingdom and the United States were surveyed, and researchers in the UK, Norway and the US analysed the data. 

Researchers from the UK's University of Manchester say aerosol transmission of the virus is "very likely" with taller people at a "higher risk".

The researchers believe COVID-19 spreads through the air faster than previously thought, rather than being spread by droplets which fall to the ground. It means taller people would be at a greater risk if it spreads through the air.

Professor Evan Kontopantelis from the University of Manchester said the virus may be transmitted in more than one way.

"The results of this survey in terms of associations between height and diagnosis suggest downward droplet transmission is not the only transmission mechanism and aerosol transmission is possible. This has been suggested by other studies but our method of confirmation is novel," he said on the university's website.

"Though social distancing is still important because transmission by droplets is still likely to occur, it does suggest that mask wearing may be just as, if not more, effective in prevention. But also, air purification in interior spaces should be further explored."

The survey also looked at how personal characteristics, circumstances and working conditions impact whether someone contracts the virus.

Researchers found using a shared kitchen or accommodation was a significant factor, especially in the US where people were 3.5 times more likely to catch COVID-19. 

The survey hasn't been peer reviewed yet.