NEW DELHI: Maintaining a social distance of six feet may not be sufficient enough to prevent getting infected by the Covid-19 as respiratory droplets can travel 8-13 feet, according to a mathematical model-based analysis of respiratory droplets by researchers.
In a collaborative study, researchers at India Institute of Science, Bangalore and University of Toronto and University of California San Diego have modelled the role of respiratory droplets in Covid-19-type pandemics using the aerodynamics and evaporation characteristics of respiratory droplets. The team also found that wearing a face mask can indeed check the spread, as the longest surviving respiratory droplets are in range of 18-50 microns which masks can stop from entering the human body.
SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the Covid-19 is transmitted via respiratory droplets and researchers studied distance the droplets can travel and survive. In a paper published in journal Physics of Fluids, the researchers modelled the pandemic dynamics with a reaction mechanism, wherein each reaction has a rate constant obtained by calculating the droplet collision frequency. They then compared the droplet cloud ejected by an infected person versus one by a healthy person.
“The size of the droplet cloud, the distance it travels, and the droplet lifetimes are, therefore, all important factors that we calculated using conservation of mass, momentum, energy and species,” said Swetaprovo Chaudhuri, one of the authors.
“Without wind and depending on the ambient condition, we found droplets travel between 8 and 13 feet before they evaporate or escape. This finding implies that social distancing at perhaps greater than 6 feet is essential. Furthermore, the initial size of the longest surviving droplets is in the range of 18-50 microns, meaning masks can indeed help,” said Abhishek Saha, a co-author.