Monday, November 30, 2020

One person in the room with you has COVID-19. Here’s how long it takes to get infected

 
MIT researchers have built a simple tool to give clear guidelines on indoor safety in the midst of a pandemic. (Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images)

Mark Wilson
Fast Company

Keep six feet of distance. Issued by the CDC and adopted by many businesses, it’s the guideline that most of us have lived by during COVID-19.

But as the climate has turned cold and some of us have moved indoors, John Bush, a professor of applied mathematics at MIT, calls such a rule of thumb “dangerous” and “overly simplistic.” Because when you’re inside, microscopic droplets are trapped right alongside you in a confined space, and standing six feet away from someone doesn’t stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus from floating in the air of your living room where you can potentially inhale it.

So are any of us safe indoors during the COVID-19 era? Can we go to a grocery store? Can we meet with a loved one? Bush, alongside his MIT colleague Martin Z. Bazant, have answered that question with a complex mathematical model, which simulates the fluid dynamics of virus-loaded respiratory droplets in any space, from a cozy kitchen to a gigantic concert hall.

And because the equation is far too complicated for most people to understand, they turned their findings into a free online tool. Go to this website, and you can create your own custom scenario to judge COVID-19 risks for yourself.  Read more >>