Particles carrying the coronavirus can remain in the air longer than previously thought

Particles carrying the coronavirus can remain in the air longer than previously thought, according to researchers.

Scientists in Finland have released a 3D model showing how coronavirus is transported through extremely small airborne aerosol particles when a person coughs, sneezes or talks.

They said their findings "emphasise the importance of avoiding busy indoor spaces" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The researchers modelled a scenario where a person coughs in an aisle between shelves, like those found in supermarkets.

They found the aerosol cloud spreads outside the immediate vicinity of the coughing person and dilutes - but this can take up to several minutes.

 
A 3D model shows how particles can spread when a person coughs in a supermarket. Pic: Aalto University
Image: The model shows a person coughing
A 3D model shows how particles can spread when a person coughs in a supermarket. Pic: Aalto University
Image: After a few seconds the particles have spread along the aisle
A 3D model shows how particles can spread when a person coughs in a supermarket. Pic: Aalto University
Image: In a less a minute, the virus particles spread across the aisle

"Someone infected by the coronavirus can cough and walk away but then leave behind extremely small aerosol particles carrying the coronavirus," said Ville Vuorinen, assistant professor at Aalto University in Finland.

"These particles could then end up in the respiratory tract of others in the vicinity."

 

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