Physical distance not enough to stop Kovid: British study

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A new study in the UK has found that airborne transmission of COVID-19 is highly random and that social or physical distancing alone is not effective in preventing its spread. The study emphasizes the importance of vaccination and masks.

A team of engineers from the University of Cambridge used computer modeling to determine how the tiny droplets spread when people cough. They found that in the absence of a mask, a person with Kovid-19 could infect someone else even two meters outside the closed space. This distance is being used in the UK.

The research team also found that coughing occurs over large areas and that the so-called ‘safe’ distance can be between one and three meters or more, as defined by a public health authority.

Indian-origin Dr Shrey Trivedi, first author of the study published this week in the journal ‘Physics of Fluids’, said, “Part of the spread of this disease is related to virology: how many viruses are in your body, you speak or How many viral elements were expelled while coughing.

“Another part of this is matter mechanics: like what happens to small particles after they are coughed up,” said Trivedi, from the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. As fluid mechanics experts, we are a bridge from the virology of the emitter to the virology of the recipient, and we can help with risk assessment.”

The study results conclusively suggest that social distancing in itself is not a way to reduce the impact of the virus and underscore the continuing importance of vaccination, proper air movement and masks, especially in the coming winter.

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