To combat the spread of the coronavirus, proper ventilation in public areas is crucial. Researchers at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) state this in a study.
The study was about the virus spreading in, for example, public transport and nursing homes. The researchers published the results in the scientific journal, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. In the study, healthy people were asked to speak and cough.
Researchers then analysed the spread of small droplets (aerosols) using laser light. These droplets appeared to float in the air for minutes. “These mini droplets are far more dangerous when it comes to the coronavirus’s transmission.”
In an airtight room, half the droplets disappeared from the air in 2.5 minutes. In a well-ventilated room with an open door or window, the number of droplets was halved within 30 seconds.
Keeping distance isn’t enough
According to the UvA’s researchers, “keeping sufficient distance from each other isn’t enough to limit the risks”. The planned app to determine whether people are in the vicinity of an infected person is, therefore, insufficient. They conclude there must be good ventilation.
The study’s conclusion seems to be at odds with the Dutch Health Department’s (RIVM) view about small droplets spreading the virus. The RIVM website states there’s no clear evidence that the virus spreads in the smallest droplets over long distances in the air. They add that the coronavirus mainly spreads “through larger droplets that don’t remain in the air for long”.
Editor: Melinda Walraven