New Study Suggests Social Distance of 20 Feet to Avoid Covid Infection

A worker cleans a road during coronavirus lockdown in New Delhi which is among the worst-affected cities of India. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service
A worker cleans a road during coronavirus lockdown in New Delhi which is among the worst-affected cities of India. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service

As scientists are still trying to understand the true nature of coronavirus (Covid-19), new facts about the virus are emerging regularly.

Earlier, for example, the World Health Organisation (WHO) informed that coronavirus is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks, adding that the virus does not travel through the air.

However, later this observation was changed to advise that the virus can travel 6 feet (or roughly 2 meters) from person to person and all were asked to maintain a social distance of 6 feet to stop the contagion.

Similarly, the health experts suggested that all the people were not required to wear face masks. But later this guideline was also changed and all were asked to cover their faces with the mask.

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Now, a new study finds that the social distance of just 6 feet is not enough and if you want to stay away from coronavirus, you need to maintain a distance of at least 20 feet (or roughly 6 meters) from each other.

According to researchers from the University of California (UC) and others, the human saliva droplets can travel up to 20 feet. So, the current social distance norm of 6 feet cannot stop the spread of the virus.

The study, published as a preprint in medrXiv, has not yet been peer reviewed. The scientists used a comprehensive mathematical model to explore the evaporation, heat transfer, and projectile motion of respiratory droplets under different temperature, humidity, and ventilation conditions.

If the findings of the study are correct, the governments around the world will have to change their guidelines for citizens during and after the lockdowns.

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Rakesh Raman

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