COVID 19 Probe – Is 6′ far Enough to Dodge Aerosols?
The following comment was posted by BU commenter yallsmall to the blog COVID 19 Challenges for SIDs – A Lack of Discipline Exposed. An interesting exchange which probes the urgent need to define a relevant strategy to effectively fight COVID 19
– David, Barbados Underground
Those posts were an attempt to publicize what I think might be the most important misconception by the Epidemiological community as well as the Politicians in this whole global Pandemic situation.
The most recent pandemics or near-pandemics in the world have been caused by coronaviruses. Reducing or eliminating the spread of these viruses require the use of very old techniques used with a mix of new ones. The science of Virology has modernized the tools that are used for designing protocols for control as well as make the visualization of the pathogens and their interaction with host cells whether human or non-human more apparent. The study of relevant aspects of the pathogen (e.g. Covid-19); the host (man); and how the pathogen spreads and infects the host (e.g. if vectors are important and how so) as well as the determination of the environmental factors that assist in or detracts from the rate of spread.
It has long been known that most Coronaviruses attacking humans are spread by droplets as well as aerosols. Droplets from coughs do not travel far under ordinary circumstances but aerosols produced by the rapid drying out of droplets could travel several times the 6 ft limit that has been determined for droplets.
If it is true that Covid-19 spreads by aerosols it would require a significant reworking of the 6ft distancing rule and suggest that that rule might have inadvertently contributed to a significant proportion of the horrendous carnage that Covid-19 has caused around the world so far.
The Czech authorities have had a relatively good outcome, so far, in their war against the spread of Covid-19. They appear to attribute this mainly to the universal use of Masks. The US has had to be dragged kicking and screaming to recommend the voluntary use of low quality masks. It is quite possible that the universal use of good quality masks by the total population might fill a large part of the void between the suppression of aerosols and the 6ft space.
There are many aspects of this area that could promote a good wide ranging BU discussion.