Being in water droplets going through the air would make it airborne. The first paper you just linked to refers to "microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets)" as the mode of transportation, the point of masks being to disrupt the flow of these droplets....or my wife is a scientist who talks about the latest literature on the subject. It was known all the way back in 2000 that COVID-19 was at least partially airborne.
We appeal to the medical community and to the relevant national and international bodies to recognize the potential for airborne spread of coronavirus disease 2academic.oup.com
This second paper also identified the transmission via water droplets, and in addition emphasized the masks in reducing airborne transmission.
5% is the low end for cloth masks of (IIRC) synthetic fibers or very low thread counts with a single layer. When you change to cotton, or add layers and thread count, the percentage can rise to over 80%.There are numerous mask studies through the course of the pandemic that showed a reduction in mask effectiveness that you and I have commented on earlier. I can post the scientific work again if you want but mask started with an effectiveness of around 33% for adults universally wearing cloth masks in the initial outbreak, and had dropped all the way to 5% effectiveness for cloth masks during Delta which caused much of Europe to ban cloth masks as being ineffective against Delta.
Airborne in the sense of being in water droplets in the air, sure.The data about Omicron being even more airborne than Delta is still early but was indicated in the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) out of the UK last month.
COVID-19: Omicron variant may transmit more through the air. What we know so far about B.1.1.529 strain found in southern AfricaScientists around the globe are concerned the "horrific" number of mutations could make it highly transmissible, more deadly and make coronavirus jabs less effective.news.sky.com