Coronavirus warning as study finds saliva droplets travel 19ft
Brits could still contract the coronavirus while social distancing, as a chilling study warns it can travel up to 19ft in the air.
Researchers at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, created a computer simulation to predict the speed at which saliva can travel.
The study considered wind speed, the size of the salvia droplets, and the shape of a person’s mouth.
It suggests that salvia can move up to 6m (19ft) in wind speeds of 4-15kmh (2-9mph).
The authors warned: “Shorter adults and children could be at higher risk if they are located within the trajectory of falling droplets.”
They added: “Our findings imply that depending on the environmental conditions, the 2 meters social distance may not be sufficient.
A single cough can release around 3,000 droplets, with many of them travelling in different directions.
From a sneeze, up to 40,000 droplets could be released.
Co-author Professor Dimitris Drikakis, from the Science and Engineering and Medical Schools at the University of Nicosia, told Newsweek : “In open spaces, airborne droplets can travel significantly further than the 2m (6 ft) recommended distance depending on the wind speed and the environmental conditions.
“The above is an important finding, and both citizens and policy-makers should be aware of it.”
He added: “If a person is in the path of the virus cloud, the risk of infection will, most likely, depend on the dosage and time of exposure.
“Therefore, it is crucial to better understand which scenarios may allow the transmission at longer distances.
“The present study contributes to advancing the above understanding.”
Earlier this month, another study warned Covid-19 could be spread by people speaking too loudly.
Droplet spray from the mouths of loud talkers can remain in the air far longer than expected.
The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, come after scientists used laser lights to study how oral spray travels.
They studied the spatter from someone who repeated the words “stay healthy” at volume for 25 seconds.
The location was then filmed for 80 minutes, to analyse how many particles remained in the air.
They found the droplets can stay in the air for between eight and 14 minutes before disappearing.