Japanese scientists showed how Covid-19 spreads when talking at the table

What are your chances of contracting the coronavirus if you are sitting in a bar with three other people, and one of them is a carrier of the pathogen? Scientists from the RIKEN Institute for Computational Science and colleagues from Kobe University modeled this situation using the Fugaku supercomputer, one of the most powerful in the world. This is reported by The Asahi Shimbun.

In their model, four people sit at two 60 square meters tables pushed together. see (the standard size of tables in cafes and restaurants, according to researchers). Modeling has shown that the person sitting next to the speaker gets about five times more aerosol particles than the person sitting opposite.

The chances of contracting Covid-19 if the interviewee is a carrier of the virus correlate in much the same way. Moreover, when the speaker turns his head towards the addressee, the risk of transmission of the pathogen increases. The safest place, according to scientists, is located diagonally from the probably infected: no more than a quarter of the aerosol particles emitted by the speaker reach there.

Simulation also showed that the distribution of such particles is highly dependent on the humidity in the room. At a humidity level of less than 30%, the propagation distance of particles is doubled compared to a humidity of 60%. This is due to the fact that at high humidity, the particles stick together more intensively and settle faster.

This study concludes that humidifiers in public places help reduce the likelihood of contracting Covid-19. Scientists also recommend installing special protective transparent screens on the tables of cafes and restaurants so that visitors can communicate with each other as safely as possible.

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