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)
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 >>