Jump to main content

People taller than 1.82 meters are twice as likely to contract coronavirus

How you travel to and from work and your height can affect the probability of catching  coronavirus. This is suggested by new research from the University of Agder.

This article is more than one years old, and may contain outdated information.

Photo of two persons with a mask on, with different heights.
How tall you are can affect your chances of catching coronavirus. Photo: Colourbox.com

One of the first international surveys of work-related and personal predictors of COVID-19 transmission has recently been conducted. The survey looked at several different factors such as height, education, income, use of public transport and use of shared kitchens.

A team consisting of eight researchers from universities in the UK, the US and Norway is behind the research, among them the University of Agder's PhD Candidate Rolando Gonzales Martinez. He is affiliated with the Department of Management at the School of Business and Law at UiA.

2,000 individuals

The research is based on a survey of 2,000 individuals in the US and UK. In the study, they found that the chance of being infected with corona was more than twice as high if the person was over 1.82 metres tall.

Doktorgradskandidat Rolando Gonzales Martinez har deltatt i forskningsprosjektet, sammen med syv kolleger fra Storbritannia og USA. Foto: Privat

Photo of Rolando Gonzales Martinez.

“The results indicate that 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”, says Professor Evan Kontopantelis from the University of Manchester.

Aerosols are minute particles of solid or liquid matter in a gas. These droplet nuclei are so small that they can remain suspended in the air instead of falling to the ground like larger droplets do. Aerosols can accumulate in poorly ventilated areas and are carried by air currents. The chance of breathing in these particles increases for taller individuals in the presence of rising air currents. 

Mask wearing and air purification

The results may suggest that mask wearing and air purification in interior spaces may be effective ways of stopping the spread of coronavirus.

“Both structural and individual factors must be taken into account when trying to predict transmission or designing effective public health measures to contain transmission,” says PhD Candidate Rolando Gonzales Martinez.

“Our research shows how personal factors are related to the probability of becoming infected, such as membership in a trade union or the use of a shared kitchen in a student residence.”

Read the research report here:

The study has already been featured in several British media outlets: