Terrifying video shows how a single cough can spread a cloud of coronavirus across supermarket that lingers for minutes


THIS terrifying animation shows how coronavirus particles from a single cough can hang in the air “several minutes” and spread across two aisles of a supermarket. 

Scientists created a computer simulation to study how far the virus can travel indoors – and worryingly found how a cloud of droplets will infect others even after the sick person has walked away.

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 A simulation shows the cloud of particles passing across the aisle
A simulation shows the cloud of particles passing across the aisleCredit: Aalto University
 It reveals the worrying distance particles can spread from a cough
It reveals the worrying distance particles can spread from a cough

The scientists involved say that the best way to avoid catching the virus is to stay away from busy public spaces like shops and stations.

Professor Ville Vuorinen of Aalto University in Finland told the BBC: “If you go there, only go there seldom as possible. Stay there as short a time as possible”

In a statement accompanying the video, the researchers said: “Preliminary results indicate that aerosol particles carrying the virus can remain in the air longer than was originally thought, so it is important to avoid busy public indoor spaces.

“This also reduces the risk of droplet infection, which remains the main path of transmission for coronavirus.”

The study was conducted by scientists from Finland’s Aalto University, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and the University of Finland.

Experts researched how small airborne aerosol particles are transported in the air when emitted from the respiratory tract when sneezing, coughing or even talking.

They said: “In the situation under investigation, the aerosol cloud spreads outside the immediate vicinity of the coughing person and dilutes in the process.

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“However, this can take up to several minutes.

“Extremely small particles of this size do not sink on the floor, but instead, move along in the air currents or remain floating in the same place.”

 The simulation shows how the particles can stay in the air for 'several minutes' after a cough
The simulation shows how the particles can stay in the air for ‘several minutes’ after a coughCredit: Aalto University

 

Professor Vuorinen also said: “Someone infected by the coronavirus can cough and walk away, but then leave behind extremely small aerosol particles carrying the coronavirus.

“These particles could then end up in the respiratory tract of others in the vicinity.”

Despite the growing evidence that people could have the virus and not show symptoms, the UK and the WHO do not think it is a necessity for people to wear face masks.

In the UK it is advised that only health workers and carers that should wear the protective face masks.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government’s health advisers had not told him to change the UK’s approach to members of the public wearing face masks.

He said there was little evidence to show the masks help and would be better used by healthcare workers and patients who test positive.

But it puts the UK at odds with the increasing number of countries starting to advise their citizens to wear some form of face-covering when they head outdoors.

In the US the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended wearing a cloth face-covering in public where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

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These include pharmacies and grocery stores.

In Morocco, there is a government order to wear masks followed by threats of fines and imprisonment.

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