Just when we have gotten used to maintaining a social distance of 6 feet from each other to avoid the spread of coronavirus, a recent study published in the BMJ journal from scientists of Oxford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that 6 feet distance may not always be enough.
Researchers found that the coronavirus can travel up 26 feet on respiratory droplets in just a few seconds after someone sneezes, coughs, or sings.
The 6-feet social distance guidelines depend on an oversimplified scenario – how the virus can transfer by either small or large airborne droplets without accounting for other factors. In simpler terms, when an infected speaks, the small respiratory droplets stay close to the infected person, and the large ones can travel up to 1 to 2 meters, However, in case of coughing or sneezing, the small droplets are found to travel beyond two -meters in the air, and large ones can spread to an even larger distance.
The spreadability of the COVID-19 virus
The transmission of the virus is complex. It includes a range of droplets of various sizes and various other factors that propel the virus through the air. The researchers found out that while breathing out, sneezing, coughing, and singing, an individual exhales a warm and moist cloud of air with high momentum, and droplets spread faster and up to 7-8 meters within a few seconds than the normal ones.
Need to modify the social distancing norms
The researchers evaluated the published studies at how far respiratory droplets from the coronavirus, as well as other viruses, can spread in different circumstances. Depending on these studies, scientists believe that social distancing norms should be revised. The social distancing norms should include various factors like the environment and ventilation in mind, to prevent further spread of the disease.
Moreover, the guidelines should include all the scenarios, such as the setting, how crowded the place is, how long someone stays there, and people are wearing face masks.
Visiting in a poorly ventilated, crowded place where people are not wearing face masks would be high-risky. Whereas, going outside – a proper ventilated, less crowded environment, where people are quiet and wearing face coverings, would be lower-risk.
It means the best social distancing depends on the many things that combine to determine the risk of virus transmission.
For more updates on coronavirus, stay tuned to the WiseRx discount card blog!