Coronavirus: Study finds cough droplets spread 16ft away from Covid-19 patient

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The study suggests that separation might not be far enough to prevent a patient from transmitting the virus.

By Web Report

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Published: Thu 20 Aug 2020, 2:22 PM

Last updated: Thu 20 Aug 2020, 4:31 PM

Researchers, from the University of Toronto, Canada, said a new study found that cough droplets can spread over 16 feet (five meters) away from a Covid-19 patient.
This means the current recommended safety distance guidelines of standing or sitting six feet (or two meters) apart from strangers, might not prevent a patient from transmitting the virus.

The study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology, involved a slit lamp microscope that shines a bright light into the eye, which ophthalmologists use to determine the health of the eye.

Researchers used a mannequin for the experiment which simulated a cough while undergoing an eye examination, and an ophthalmologist in personal protective equipment (PPE) was seated across.

When observed under ultraviolet light, droplets from the simulated cough sprayed were seen on the ophthalmologist's hair, chest, shoulders, arms and hands as well as on the floor, walls, and window covers of the room.

Researchers concluded that more measures may be needed aside from standard PPE and protective barriers, such as breath shields, to minimise transmission.

In a similar study done in May, experts from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus found that light wind can blow infectious droplets 18 feet, reported Daily Mail.

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