Some pathogens, transmitted by airborne droplets, fly up to seven to eight meters when the patient sneezes, and 2.5 when coughing. This casts doubt on the safety of the recommended social distance in Covid-19.
For her work, Buruiba filmed the sneezing process using a high-speed camera that records images at 2,000 frames per second. This made it possible to determine that the distance the droplets fly away depends not only on their size. This is influenced by the rate at which liquid escapes from the nose or mouth, the degree of turbulent mixing of the particles, and the humidity and temperature of the environment. Thus, rather large particles can fly over a long distance and keep the pathogen in a sufficient amount of moisture.
According to the researcher, the data from her work may be important for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The results that Buruiba received are consistent with a phenomenon identified by staff at a hospital in Singapore: there, some patients contracted the coronavirus, even when the pathogen was not found in the air of hospital wards. Obviously, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thrown by patients several meters when they sneeze, entered the ventilation system and spread throughout the medical facility.
For the final confirmation of the applicability of the results obtained in a pandemic, it is necessary to additionally investigate the sneezing processes directly in those infected with the coronavirus. It is also worth noting that with Covid-19, the more frequent symptom is not sneezing, but coughing: with it, according to one of Lydia Buruiba's previous articles, liquid particles spread only 2.5 meters from the source.