Latest Research: There are no standard rules about maintaining a safe distance for the Covid-19 pandemic
One or two meters? or six meters? Researchers this week revealed that when dealing with Covid-19, there is no one standard rule about maintaining a safe distance.
Indoors or outdoors, air circulation patterns, whether it's when people whisper, scream, sneeze, air conditioning or open windows, duration of time, wear masks or not - all of these components will determine how safe we are from Covid-19 transmission.
"The standard rule of safe distance is a simplification of the experience of previous viral pandemics and past science," said Nicholas Jones, a researcher at Saint Thomas Hospital in London, England.
"Instead of one standard rule of physical distancing, we put forward a series of recommendations that describe the various factors for determining risk (of transmission)."
In various parts of the world, everyday life with Covid-19 has become a reality.
The Covid-19 vaccine, which will be available en masse, still needs a few more months and a number of positive cases in various countries have risen again, even in countries that had previously succeeded in reducing the pandemic.
But government officials in various countries are trying to avoid extended lockdowns for economic reasons and they are looking for the best policies to adapt to the pandemic.
Last Thursday, for example, the French government through the minister of health and education imposed a new rule, namely the mandatory wearing of masks in the capital city of Paris and its surroundings.
Previously, wearing a mask was only required on public transportation, in shops and public facilities.
Low and high risk scenarios
Since the beginning of the pandemic, experts have debated what it means to maintain a "safe" distance.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least one meter distance from one person to another and many countries follow this rule.
But in experiments carried out in recent months, that distance is still too close, at least under certain conditions.
"Eight out of 10 recent studies systematically demonstrated the horizontal direction of splashes / droplets of fluid when people breathe can exceed two meters for 60 micro particles," said Jones and colleagues in the medical journal BMJ.
In one study, droplets containing live virus were detected more than six meters from their original source, when people sneeze, cough or sing.
The findings explain a case where a positive person in a choir group in the United States infected 32 other people despite their distance.
Sports arenas, gyms, churches, are places where people are quite loud.
How far the virus can spread in an enclosed space is also determined by what the ventilation with open windows or air conditioning looks like.
Crowd density is also a determining factor.
Taking all these factors into account, Jones and his team developed a chart that could serve as a guide for minimizing risk in various situations.
If you speak quietly in a well-ventilated room and people wear masks in the room, the risk of infection is minimal.
Shouting or singing in a room with poor ventilation and without wearing a mask can put people in an infectious condition.