A test subject coughs into a laser scanner during a University of Amsterdam study on how microdroplets spread the virus that leads to COVID-19. CREDIT: University of Amsterdam
Aerosol microdroplets, the tiny particles that linger in the air longest after we talk, cough, or sneeze, do not appear to be extremely efficient at spreading the virus that leads to COVID-19.
Modeling of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in confined spaces suggests aerosol transmission is not a very efficient route. The results were published in Physics of Fluids, by AIP Publishing.
Physicists and medical doctors at the University of Amsterdam’s Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute used laser technology to measure the distribution of droplets released when people speak or cough. Test subjects spoke or coughed into a laser beam, and a jet nozzle was used to mimic tiny aerosol microdroplets. This allowed researchers to measure how droplets spread and how likely they are to pass along SARS-CoV2.
While the lingering microdroplets are certainly not risk-free, due to their small size they contain less virus than the larger droplets that are produced when someone coughs, speaks, or sneezes directly on us, said Daniel Bonn, one of the authors and institute director.
“Based on the current insights, we actually see that aerosol-wise, it’s relatively safe to go into well-ventilated modern buildings, such as airports, train stations, modern offices, etc.,” Bonn said. “Modern ventilation makes the aerosol infection risk not very large. The amount of virus in the small droplets is relatively small, meaning that it becomes dangerous if you’re in a badly ventilated room for a relatively long time with an infected person or after an infected person has coughed there.”
If someone enters a space even a few minutes after a mildly symptomatic carrier of the coronavirus has coughed in that area, the probability of infection is “rather low,” according to the researchers. It is even lower if that person was only talking.
The findings, Bonn said, support the efficacy of wearing masks, social distancing, and other measures targeting the spread of larger droplets.
“They are so large that they fall onto the ground roughly within a meter from your mouth,” he said. “If you want to minimize the risk of infection, you need to not only keep the 6 feet, or 1.5 meters, but also make sure the room you are in is well ventilated. And wash your hands.”
The researchers acknowledge the study’s findings are “necessarily subjective.” But, Bonn said, the authors hope it provides some context as people consider their safety during the pandemic.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Covid-19 aerosol microdroplets
- Ion-molecule interactions enable unexpected phase transitions in organic-inorganic aerosolon November 18, 2020 at 8:08 pm
Motivated by the atmospheric prevalence of low-mass oxygenated organic molecules and divalent inorganic ions, we studied the RH-dependent phase state of internally mixed organic-inorganic ...
- You asked, we’re answering: Your top coronavirus questionson November 18, 2020 at 4:00 pm
“There’s good enough data to say that aerosol transmission [of coronavirus] does occur ... viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distances (up ...
- Researchers identify features that could make someone a virus super-spreaderon November 18, 2020 at 4:00 pm
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the main way people are infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 is through exposure to respiratory droplets, such as from ...
- Existing UV light technology has potential to reduce COVID-19 transmission indoorson November 17, 2020 at 2:30 pm
A recent study has shown that a UV light technology already used to prevent the spread of other airborne diseases in buildings has the potential to be effective against COVID-19. The research ...
- Now, cough into your phone and find out if you are asymptomaticon October 30, 2020 at 12:18 am
Also read: Aerosol microdroplets ineffective at spreading coronavirus: Study These recordings were submitted by people voluntarily through web browsers and devices such as cellphones and laptops ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Covid-19 aerosol microdroplets
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Nurses and doctors now face ‘fear of the known’ as COVID-19 brings people to the hospitalon November 27, 2020 at 10:05 pm
Many health care workers are pleading with Mainers to take preventive steps now that could lessen the number of people who end up in the hospital in the coming weeks.
- '60-70% of population needs to be immune to curb Covid-19 transmission'on November 27, 2020 at 9:42 pm
Modeling studies have revealed that about 60 to 70 per cent of the global population needs to be immune to curb or halt Covid-19 transmission, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said.
- New ultra-right Supreme Court majority invokes religion to block COVID-19 safety measureson November 27, 2020 at 8:54 pm
The Supreme Court struck down New York’s measures to control the spread of COVID-19 by limiting indoor events, including religious services, heralding the power of the new five-justice, ...
- Westmoreland County covid-19 transmission level rises, remains at ‘substantial’ levelon November 27, 2020 at 2:58 pm
Westmoreland County remained in the “substantial” level of covid-19 transmission this week, as it has been for more than a month. As health officials expressed concern about the transmission risk ...
- Update: Several Drama Stars Test Negative For COVID-19 After Many Productions Halt Filming Due To Potential Transmissionon November 25, 2020 at 6:39 pm
KST: Many drama stars have shared their negative COVID-19 test results. The agencies of “Hush” actors Hwang Jung Min and YoonA shared that their COVID-19 test results were negative. Cho Seung Woo and ...