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Coronavirus Can Travel Upto 13 Feet In Air, Says New Study

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The studies of air samples in hospital wards treating COVID-19 patients uncovered that the virus could travel up to 13 feet, more than twice the distance recommended in current social distancing guidelines.

The study revealed that aerosols containing particles of the virus were primarily concentrated closer to the downstream from patients at up to 13 feet while some smaller quantities were found upstream, up to eight feet.

The researchers were led by a team at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing, who tested surface and air samples from an intensive care unit and a general COVID-19 ward at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, reported Yahoo News:

The researchers who discovered traces of the disease at 13 feet of distance specified that the particles found were not inevitably infectious. Half of the samples from the soles of the ICU medical staff shoes tested positive, the team wrote. Therefore, the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers.

The coronavirus was most heavily concentrated on the floors of the wards, “perhaps because of gravity and air flow causing most virus droplets to float to the ground.”

The team also looked at so-called aerosol transmission – when the droplets of the virus are so fine they become suspended and remain airborne for several hours, unlike cough or sneeze droplets that fall to the ground within seconds.

It is to be noted that aerosolization of the coronavirus is a contentious area for scientists. Earlier, an MIT study said that droplets could travel from 23 to 27 feet. However, its findings were not well received as the nation’s leading expert Anthony Fauci debunked the report calling it ‘misleading and not practical’. “The World Health Organization has also noted the risk for aerosolized transmission being not an outstanding threat for most people”, adds The Hill.

The recent study might provoke new researchers to look at aerosol transfer more closely and carefully.


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Naya Daur