Coronavirus flies how far? 6-feet social distancing may not be enough

Unlike larger coronavirus droplets, smaller ones remained airborne for several hours.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

A new coronavirus study published on Friday by Chinese researchers suggests the current “social distancing” recommendation of six-feet separation between people isn’t enough.

According to researchers from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing, coronavirus droplets can remain in the air up to 13-feet high.

The researchers took air and surface samples from the coronavirus ICU ward between Feb.19 and March 2 at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, which housed a total of 24 coronavirus patients at the time.

Small coronavirus droplets were found in air samples taken 13 feet above the patients. Unlike larger coronavirus droplets produced from a cough or sneeze that fell immediately to the ground, the smaller ones remained airborne for several hours.

As for surfaces, the research team found that the virus was most heavily concentrated on the floors “perhaps because of gravity and airflow causing most virus droplets to float to the ground.”

Additionally, the virus was “widely distributed on floors, computer mice, trash cans, and sickbed handrails,” the study said.

The study also suggested that shoes may function as “carriers of the disease” after nearly half of the staff’s shoe soles tested positive.

Airborne coronavirus transmission is largely dismissed by leading health organizations.

“Transmission of COVID-19 is through droplets, it is not airborne,” said UN World Health Organization (WHO) representative Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove during a virtual press conference on March 27.

“Therefore someone who has these small liquid particles that come out of their mouth; they travel a certain distance and then they fall so that’s why we recommend the physical distance, to be separated so that you remove the opportunity for that virus to actually pass from one person to another,” she said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing face masks in public settings to prevent catching or spreading the disease, even though coronavirus airborne transmission is “unlikely.”