Drops of liquid when sneezing fly 7-8 meters and remain in the air in the form of a cloud much longer than previously thought. This knowledge will help clarify precautions to prevent infection with COVID-19 and other viral diseases, according to a study by physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The work was published in the journal Journal of American Medical Association.
When sneezing or coughing, a person makes an airborne suspension through which viruses can be transmitted. Drops in such suspensions are divided into two types – large and small. The first fly further, but fall to the ground faster, and the second spread over a short distance, but remain in the air for a longer period of time.
These data are still used in most recommendations for medical institutions and doctors – despite the fact that they were obtained at the beginning of the 20th century and for the most part are theoretical.
In order to clarify the suspension flight range after coughing or sneezing, the researchers filmed this process on a rapid camera with a frequency of about 2 thousand frames per second.
The study showed that the suspension travels about 7-8 m before settling on the ground or evaporating. In addition, depending on the humidity, they can remain in suspension for several seconds to several minutes. This range is much wider than previously thought.