According tomedia reports, the new corona virus pandemic forced people to change their lives in many ways. Today, many people work from home, and social distance rules mean that people should try to stay at least 6 feet away from each other in public. But where did this measurement come from, and why was it considered accurate?
In response, Lydia Bourouiba, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a new study that the current social distance policy is based on an outdated model of how respiratory diseases are transmitted. In fact, the true impact of pathogens such as the new coronavirus is close to 30 feet (about 9.1 meters) instead of 6 feet (about 1.8 meters).
The paper, published in JAMA, found that the 6-foot recommendation was based on science at the end of the 19th century. Recent studies, on the other hand, paint a clearer picture of the tiny droplets that humans emit when coughing and sneezing. When a person sneezes, the range of “cloud-like” gas from his face is actually much larger than many people think, and environmental conditions can give them extra impetus.
Bourouiba noted in the article that the CDC recommends keeping the distance between people at 6 feet, but these distances are based on the estimated range and do not have the potential for high-momentum clouds carrying droplets over long distances.
So what is the true maximum range of virus-carrying droplets when they leave the body through a strong sneeze or cough? “Given the combination of physiological and environmental conditions in individual patients, such as humidity and temperature, the payload of the gas cloud and its various size droplets carrying pathogens can move from 23 (about 7 meters) to 27 feet (about 8.2 meters),” Bourouiba explained.
Obviously, there’s a big difference between 6 feet and 27 feet, but it’s hard to ask everyone to keep nearly 30 feet in public. As people have seen over the past few weeks, it is difficult for some people to stay 6 feet away from friends, family or colleagues who carry the virus, so it is almost impossible to quadruple this requirement.