Corona droplets: The novel coronavirus has prompted social distancing measures around the world. One researcher believes what’s being done isn’t enough.
Coronavirus droplets could travel up to 27 feet as a sneeze or a cough results in a turbulent gas cloud that could contain SARS-CoV-2 droplets, according to the MIT researcher.
Lydia Bourouiba, an associate professor at MIT, has researched the dynamics of exhalations (coughs and sneezes, for instance) for years at The Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory and found exhalations cause gaseous clouds that can travel up to 27 feet.
USAToday reported, “There’s an urgency in revising the guidelines currently being given by the WHO and the CDC on the needs for protective equipment, particularly for the frontline health care workers,”.
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During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, people have been advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] to maintain social distancing of at least six feet to limit the risk of exposure.
However, Bourouiba’s research indicates that the droplets could travel further much further than that. Bourouiba explains that the range of the droplets, both large and small, is extended through their interaction with and trapping within the turbulent gas cloud.
“Droplets that settle along the trajectory can contaminate surfaces, while the rest remain trapped and clustered in the moving cloud,” she wrote. “Eventually the cloud and its droplet payload lose momentum and coherence, and the remaining droplets within the cloud evaporate, producing residues or droplet nuclei that may stay suspended in the air for hours, following airflow patterns imposed by ventilation or climate-control systems.”
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