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‘Physical distancing over six feet may be essential to prevent COVID19 transmission’

Respiratory droplets travel between eight to 13 feet before they evaporate or escape, without wind and depending on the ambient condition, according to Indian researchers who suggest that physical distancing greater than six feet may be essential to avoid COVID-19 transmission.

The researchers, including those from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, Karnataka, noted that it is well established that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease is transmitted via respiratory droplets that infected people eject when they cough, sneeze or talk.

The team developed a mathematical model for the early phases of a COVID-19-like pandemic using the aerodynamics and evaporation characteristics of respiratory droplets.

The research, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, modelled the pandemic dynamics with a reaction mechanism, wherein each reaction has a rate constant obtained by calculating the droplet collision frequency.

The researchers then compared the droplet cloud ejected by an infected person to the one by a healthy person.

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