The simple act of speaking, especially loudly, can help spread novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to a new study.
The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that speech droplets generated by those asymptomatic for COVID-19 are “increasingly considered to be a likely mode of disease transmission.”
The study found that “loud speech can emit thousands of oral fluid droplets per second.” In a closed, stagnant air environment, those droplets remained active for between eight and 14 minutes.
“Speech can release thousands of oral fluid droplets into the air too, and the researchers were interested in seeing how many were produced and how long they could remain airborne,” the study found, with researchers noting that “the study was also run in a tightly controlled environment, and it did not account for the types of air circulation and temperature changes you would find in nearly any real-world environment.”
“It raises serious concerns that the mere act of an infected patient talking could be dangerously effective in transmitting coronavirus to others.
"The researchers write that their estimates are conservative; with some patients producing a much larger amount of the virus than average, which could increase the number of virus-containing droplets “to well over 100,000 per minute of speaking.”
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