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Simple Visualizations Show How COVID-19 Spreads Indoors And How We Can Avoid It

Published 1 week ago

By now, you should know that COVID-19 is transmitted by air by attaching to the particles that are breathed out by an infected person. These particles can remain suspended in air for hours for others to breathe in, especially indoors. Recently, Spanish newspaper El País released a few helpful visualizations showing just how these coronavirus particles spread through the air, and they will help you understand the importance of wearing face masks.

In the videos created by Luis Almodóvar, journalists Mariano Zafra and Javier Salas examined three indoor situations: a bar, a living room, and a classroom. They used a model called the Estimator, created by the University of Colorado Boulder, to demonstrate how the virus spreads in different situations.

More info: El País

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Spanish newspaper El País released a few helpful visualizations showing how coronavirus particles spread indoors

Image credits: elpaisinenglish

One of the visualizations showed six people sitting in an unventilated room for four hours. Even with all of them socially distancing and wearing masks, after spending all that time speaking loudly, 5 out of 6 people will get infected. However, the risk drops significantly if the room is ventilated and the gathering only lasts 2 hours.

The first setting showed people gathered in a living room

Image credits: elpaisinenglish

The second one showed how the virus spreads inside a bar

Image credits: elpaisinenglish

Image credits: El País

Image credits: El País

The newspaper explained that if the windows are closed and there’s no mechanical ventilation, 14 out of 15 patrons will get infected within 4 hours.

Image credits: El País

Image credits: El País

However, if masks are worn all the time, sufficient ventilation is provided, and the time is spent at the bar is shortened, the number drops to just one case.

The newspaper also showed how it spreads in classrooms

Image credits: elpaisinenglish

Image credits: El País

Image credits: El País

If the teacher is infected and the classroom is not ventilated, up to 12 students could be infected within two hours.

Image credits: El País

If everyone wears a face mask, the number drops to just five cases. “In real outbreaks, it has been noted that any of the students could become infected irrespective of their proximity to the teacher as the aerosols are distributed randomly around the unventilated room,” explained El País.

Image credits: El País

El País also analyzed how particles spread when talking, shouting, and being silent

Image credits: elpaisinenglish

Image credits: El País

“The Estimator assumes that people practice the two-meter social distancing rule and that no one is immune,” explained the experts that made the study. “Our calculation is based on a default value for the general population, which includes a wide range of masks (surgical and cloth), and a loud voice, which increases the amount of aerosols expelled.”

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covid-19, How covid-19 spreads, Luis Almodóvar
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