3D Simulation Shows the Spread of a Cough
By edhat staff
Researchers in Finland released a 3D simulation of how rapidly a cough can spread through a supermarket.
According to the study, aerosol particles emitted from the respiratory tract when coughing, sneezing or talking can remain in the air longer than originally thought. These particles can carry pathogens such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) further spreading the disease.
In the 3D model, a person coughs in a corridor with indoor ventilation airflow conditions, resembling a grocery store aisle. A cloud is emitted to represent the cough that travels in the air around the individual before spreading to the next aisle and throughout the store. It takes several minutes for the cloud to spread and disperse.
“Someone infected by the coronavirus can cough and walk away but then leave behind extremely small aerosol particles carrying the coronavirus. These particles could then end up in the respiratory tract of others in the vicinity,” stated Aalto University Assistant Professor Ville Vuorinen.
Researchers state based on their preliminary results it is important to avoid busy public indoor spaces. This also reduces the risk of droplet infection, which remains the main path of transmission for coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using cloth face coverings, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission such as grocery stories and pharmacies, as well as maintaining physical distancing.
"We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms," according to the CDC.
Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.