Since almost the entire planet is under quarantine so that the transmission of the Coronavirus can be prevented from spreading, a recent study testing air samples from hospital wards with COVID-19 patients showed that the virus could fly up to 13 feet (four meters), twice as far as the existing recommendations suggest that people should leave between themselves in public while implementing social distance.
The discovery was made by Chinese scientists after examining the soil and air samples from an intensive care unit and a general coronavirus ward at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, the city in which the first Covid-19 cases were reported.
Between 9 February and 2 March, when China was already fighting the lethal virus, both wards held a total of 24 people.
Surprisingly, no hospital staff members have been infected which indicates that “correct measures will effectively avoid infection,” the researchers said.
The researchers have examined into ‘aerosol transmission,’ which happens when the virus droplets are so small that they are often suspended and remain airborne for several hours, unlike cough or sneeze droplets that collapse to the ground in seconds.
They observed that virus-laden aerosols were primarily localized up to 13 miles above and downstream from patients — while smaller concentrations were detected upstream, up to eight feet away.
They have offered advice that bucks orthodox recommendations, “Our results indicate that home isolation of individuals accused of COVID-19 might not be a successful control strategy” despite environmental pollution rates.
The results express concern as to whether the six-foot advice from the authorities goes far enough to prevent the disease from spreading.
Led by a team at the Beijing Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the researchers have found the virus focused heavily on ward floors.
There were also elevated rates observed on regularly used surfaces such as computer mouse, trashcans, bed rails, and door knobs. “Apart from this, half of the samples from the ICU medical staff shoes soles tested positive,” the team reported. “And medical staff shoes soles should act as carriers.”
Nevertheless, when it applies to studying the virus ‘aerosolisation, it is not clear how contagious the disease is in the small concentrations present in an ultrafine mist.
To date, the World Health Organization (WHO) has minimized the risk while the US authorities advise people to cover their faces while out in public in case the infection can be spread by normal breathing and communication.
The study’s findings were published in Emerging Infectious Disease, a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) journal, on Friday.