During Covid-19 pandemic, social distancing is one of the important and effective ways to protect us from infecting the virus.
Nevertheless, the latest research has revealed that Covid-19 can spread in the air for about 4 meters, which is double the current guidelines of social distancing!
The Chinese researchers published their preliminary results of the investigation on Friday (April 10) in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
They have a new information about the debate of how the disease is transmitted, with the scientists warning that the small amounts of virus they discovered at 4 meters of distance are not necessarily infectious.
Study on coronavirus’ presence in hospital wards with patients
•Travels up to 13 feet –4 meters
•Most heavily concentrated on floors
•High levels on frequently touched surfaces—computer mice, trashcans, bed rails, door knobs
•It’s in half of shoe soleshttps://t.co/DiHSvKcVJD
— Alfons López Tena (@alfonslopeztena) April 11, 2020
The researchers, who are from a team at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing, tested air and surface samples from an ICU(intensive care unit) and a general ward of Covid-19 at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan. And they housed 24 patients between Feb 19 and March 2.
From the study, they discovered that the virus was concentrated heavily on the ward’s floor, “perhaps because of gravity and air flow causing most virus droplets to float to the ground”.
Besides that, frequently touched surfaces such as computer mice, trashcans, bed rails and door knobs are also found as high concentration.
The team wrote:
“Furthermore, half of the samples from the soles of the ICU medical staff shoes tested positive,”
“Therefore, the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers.”
They found that virus-laden aerosols were mostly concentrated near and downstream from patients at up to 4 meters while the smaller amounts were found upstream, up to eight feet(around 2.4 meters).
But to be thankful, all the hospital staffs were free of infections, “indicating that appropriate precautions could effectively prevent infection,” wrote by the authors.
And also, they gave an advice that bucks orthodox guidelines: “Our findings suggest that home isolation of persons with suspected Covid-19 might not be a good control strategy” given the levels of environmental contamination.
The US health officials have urged people to cover their faces with wearing face masks when out in public as the virus can be probably transmitted through normal breathing and talking.