A new study suggests that the new coronavirus could be increased by windy conditions that can carry droplets up to 6 feet, thanks to air-borne conditions. The new coronavirus can be transmitted through the air by coughing, sneezing and talking, and some health authorities recommend distances of more than 6 feet between people to reduce the risk of infection.
Physics researchers analyzed various models of saliva droplets that can carry viruses in the air and concluded that they can travel more than 6 feet in the air under proper ventilation conditions. Researchers from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, writing in a new paper, explained that a breeze of just 2.48 mph (4 km/h) was enough to reach 19.6 feet (6 meters) in just five seconds. By increasing the wind speed nearly fourfold, to 9.32 mph (15 km/h), the virus can reach the same distance in just 1.6 seconds. Without wind, the particles could fall within 3 feet (1 meter) to the ground, the researchers said.
“The droplet cloud affects adults and children of different heights,” Dimitris Drikakis said. “Adults and children who are taller may be at higher risk if they are in the path of saliva droplets on the trip. The researchers added: “The reduction in total mass occurs more slowly at lower wind speeds than at higher wind speeds, and if the object is located in the droplet envelope, it may prolong the exposure of the droplets.” “
The researchers created a computational fluid dynamics simulation that analyzed how droplets move dwelling in the air after a human cough. They studied various effects that may affect particle diffusion, including humidity, dispersion, molecular interactions, and evaporation of water in microdrops. Cosmos reported that the study involved running partial differential equations on 1,008 salival droplets and solving about 3.7 million equations.
“Our findings suggest that two meters (6 feet) of social distance may not be enough, given environmental conditions,” the study authors said. “Further research is needed to quantify the impact of parameters such as relative humidity and temperature in the environment. “
Other researchers have shown that with the help of air conditioning, the new coronavirus can move more than 13 feet in hospital wards. Similarly, in an air-conditioned restaurant in China, an asymptomatic COVID-19-positive person infected three members sitting on a table more than 3 feet apart. Another report showed that during a choir practice, a member of the choir infected 52 of the 61 members.
The CDC changed its wording on its website a few days ago, making it clear that the main route of transmission of COVID-19 is human-to-human transmission, which is less likely to spread through objects and surfaces.
The new study from Cyprus further highlights the importance of wearing masks, especially in environments where it is not possible to maintain social distance. It also suggests that people may also be infected outdoors if the conditions are right. While there is plenty of evidence that the virus can spread easily through droplets, and speaking loudly is enough to get the virus carrier to spread the virus to others, these studies do not tell us how much virus is needed to induce disease.