A distance of two meters does not guarantee that a person will not be infected with COVID-19. When a sick person coughs and sneezes, viral particles can be carried up to a distance of eight meters. This conclusion was made in a scientific article published by Lydia Bourouiba of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researcher has been studying the dynamics of strong reflex exhalations, that is, coughing and sneezing, for many years.
In her article, she points out that current guidelines for social distancing and medical mask requirements are based on a model dating back to the 1930s. According to the expert, there is a need to take into account new data.
So, the peak air speed when coughing and sneezing can reach 10-30 meters per second. The scientist points out that modern masks are simply not tested in such modes.
"There is an urgent need to revise the guidelines currently being proposed by WHO and CDC on protective equipment requirements, especially for healthcare workers at the forefront of infection control. "- says the scientist in the material USA Today.
Questions about the effectiveness of masks and especially sneezing into the elbow are not all. The researcher also doubts that the safe distance to an infected person is only two meters. Indeed, according to new calculations, the virus can travel up to eight meters when coughing and sneezing.
It is generally accepted that only relatively large drops of saliva and nasal mucus are dangerous. Gravity prevents them from flying more than two meters. Hence the distance that is recommended to be observed during quarantine. But the expert believes that neglecting the smaller droplets is dangerous, since the virus will spread with them.
Paul Pottinger from the University of Washington disagrees with a colleague. In his opinion, small droplets carry too few viral particles to become infected. The expert believes that if the distance of 2-7 meters were really dangerous, now there would be no doubt about it.
"Everyone would know that this was true, because everyone would be infected," says the specialist.
In the meantime, scientists argue about the safe distance and effectiveness of masks, it is best to stay at home and not try to test the models of the researchers on yourself.