The corona virus can move up to 27 feet in the air, warns an MIT researcher and bases his new research on newer models of how droplets and particles move in the air.
Current social distance measures may not be enough because standing a meter away from an ill person may not be enough to keep you from coughing or sneezing.
The corona virus pandemic has forced us to change our lives in many ways. Many people work at home lately, and the mandate of social distance means that we must do our best to stay at least a meter in public. But where did this measurement come from and why is it considered accurate?
Recent research by MIT Associate Professor Lydia Buruiba shows that the current mandate for social distance is based on an outdated model for the spread of respiratory ailments. The true level of pathogens such as the new coronavirus is closer to 30 feet than six feet.
In a document published in JAMA, Bourouiba explained how the six-meter recommendation was based on scientific knowledge from the end of the 19th century. Recent studies paint a clearer picture of the dynamics of small liquid droplets that people release when they cough and sneeze. “Gas clouds” are blown out of a person’s face when sneezing has a much greater range than many people think, and environmental conditions can provide additional impetus to this material.
“Centers for disease control and prevention recommend a division of 6 feet. However, this distance is based on an estimated distance, which does not take into account the possibility of high impulse clouds with long-distance droplets,” Bourouiba wrote. “Given the dynamic model of storm clouds. Underestimating recommendations for separating distances of 3 to 6 feet from the distance, time scale, and persistence of clouds and their pathogenic charge, creates a potential exposure area that is underestimated for a medical professional.”
So, what is the maximum range of droplets transmitted by a virus after leaving one’s body through sneezing or heavy coughing? “Given the different combinations of physiology and environmental conditions of one patient, such as humidity and temperature, the cloud of gas and the charge of the excitation droplet carrier in various sizes can range between 23 and 27 feet,” explained Bourouiba.
There is obviously a big difference between 6 feet and 27 feet and of course everyone is almost 30 feet apart if it is difficult in public. As we have seen in the last few weeks, some people find it difficult to remain only one meter away from their potential pathogens. Because it’s almost impossible to test this requirement four times. However, if you are in a situation where you are close to someone who looks sick, it’s good to know that a distance of six meters does not always protect you, and you should maintain a small distance between you, if possible.