New study indicates COVID-19 can spread up to 8 metres

Coronavirus. [Photo courtesy]

A new study on coronavirus shows that the virus can be spread beyond the proscribed two metres.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Oxford who conducted the study indicated that this sends an alarm to rethink on measures to contain the spread of the virus.

This expressly affects church gatherings, weddings, funerals among others.

Sadly, in light of the new findings, bars and pubs currently closed in Kenya could take longer before they are allowed back to business.

The new findings indicate that 8 of 10 studies conducted showed that “horizontal projections of respiratory droplets surpassed the two-metre gauge” with one of the studies showing that a droplet spread and was detected having moved six to eight metres.

How big or small the droplet is when one coughs or sneezes determined the distance these particles will travel. A bigger droplet will go between 1-2 metres while the small droplets evaporate faster and spread to a wider range; beyond two metres.

While in public, a distance of 1.5 m is recommended and this is what has guided the re-opening of churches and restaurants across the country.

However, a report published by BMJ, a medical journal stated that “Laboratory studies also suggest SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and MERS-CoV viral particles are stable in airborne samples, with SARS-CoV-2 persistent for longest (up to 16 hours).”

The study also indicated that factors such as poor ventilation, crowding wearing is masks among others should be addressed.

“In the highest risk situations like indoor environments with poor ventilation, high levels of occupancy, prolonged contact time, and no face coverings, such as a crowded bar or night club, physical distancing beyond two metres and minimising occupancy time should be considered,” adds the research study.

UK’s scientific advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) cites that the one-metre golden rule has between 2 to 10 times risk of contracting COVID-19 that at two metres.

The World Health Organization in an advisory on physical distancing analysis pointed out that there was a 12.8 percent increased risk of contracting the virus on failure to keep a one-metre distance while the risk of the same on a two-metre distance is just 2.6 percent.