The SARS-CoV-2 virus can get into our bodies in plenty of ways. The “preferred method” is through respiratory droplets, including aerosols. When an infected individual coughs, sneezes, speaks, or even breathes, he or she releases those droplets.
SciTechDaily.com writes that new experiments and simulations by TU Wien and the University of Padova now explain how tiny droplets that are loaded with viruses are able to disappear slower after the person exhales than it was previously thought.
Not only large droplets are risky
Until the new study, researchers believed that only those large droplets pose a high enough risk of infection with viruses. But now, it seems that even those small droplets are capable of remaining in the air longer than initially thought if the humidity in the air is high. This means that large droplets aren’t the only ones that are dangerous.
The researchers ran some computer simulations that observed and calculated the dispersion of droplets and breathing air at different environmental parameters, such as humidity.
Professor Alfredo Soldati, who was involved in the new research, declared as quoted by SciTechDaily.com:
We found that small droplets stay in the air an order of magnitude longer than previously thought,
There’s a simple reason for this: the evaporation rate of droplets is not determined by the average relative humidity of the environment, but by the local humidity directly at the droplet’s location.
In other words, we all should be more careful regarding those around us and our own health.
According to worldometers.info, the total number of COVID infections worldwide exceeds 229.4 million cases, while the death toll due to the coronavirus reaches over 4.7 million souls.
The new study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.