Coronavirus droplets generated via talking can stay 12 minutes, study

18 Mai, 2020, 14:41 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Coronavirus droplets generated via talking can stay 12 minutes, study

Experts believe the study indicates the need for widespread adherence to wearing masks in public as a way to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Scientists found that thousands of tiny droplets sprayed from the mouths of people talking noisily can remain in the air far longer than expected.

Small speech droplets are now eyed as a likely mode of the coronavirus transmission, instead of coughing or sneezing droplets, according to a recent study. The participants were asked to speak into the open end of a cardboard box and the researchers illuminated its inside with green lasers and tracked the bursts of droplets the person produced while speaking. They then derived quantitative estimates for both the number and size of the speech droplets that remained airborne.

They stayed in the air for an average of 12 minutes, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) showed.

"Highly sensitive laser light scattering observations have revealed that loud speech can emit thousands of oral fluid droplets per second", The Washington Post quoted the study.

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The experiment only focused on smaller droplets that have the capability of lingering for a longer time in the air.

The "enclosed, stagnant air environment" was filmed for 80 minutes and each frame analysed to discover how many scattered particles hung in the air before disappearing.

"This direct visualisation demonstrates how normal speech generates airborne droplets that can remain suspended for tens of minutes or longer and are eminently capable of transmitting disease in confined spaces", the researchers conclude.

Coughs and sneezes might not be the only way individuals transmit infectious pathogens including the deadly novel coronavirus to each other.

The research did not involve the coronavirus or any other virus, but looked at how people generate respiratory droplets when they speak.

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