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The UTSA study shows that airborne coronavirus particles could travel more than a mile

SANT ‘ANTONIO – Airborne coronavirus particles could travel more than a mile, depending on weather conditions, according to a new study written by an associate professor of mechanical engineering at UTSA.

The peer-reviewed study, written by Kiran Bhaganagar and his graduate student, Sudheer Bhimireddy, used New York City weather data in March and April to run computer simulations of how weather patterns would affect virus particle plumes. in the air – hundreds of thousands of which could be expelled with a single cough.

“From the moment of initial release, the virus can spread up to 30 minutes in the air, covering a radius of 200m at a time, moving 1

-2km from the original source,” according to the study.

However, the study does not indicate how much of the virus must be present to infect someone. So it doesn’t reflect at what point the plume might no longer be a danger to bystanders.

However, Bhaganagar still sees the findings as evidence of the role airborne transmission could have played in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the most part, we found that about one kilometer was where they were significantly present,” he told KSAT on Tuesday. “And so, even if we don’t know how many numbers it takes to get infected, there’s a good chance they could be causing the transmission, such as one of the paths.”

Although prevention efforts have focused on avoiding close contact with infected people, the possibility of airborne spread of the coronavirus has also been discussed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted, then withdrew, statements on its website earlier this month that seemed to indicate it believed the virus could hang in the air and spread over an extended distance, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The CDC website currently claims that a draft of the changes to its recommendations have been published in error and that it is updating its recommendations regarding air broadcasting.

For now, the website claims that the virus is thought to spread between people within six feet of each other via respiratory droplets.

The UTSA study is expected to be published in the December issue of the journal Environmental research. It was funded through a grant from the NASA MIRO Center for Advanced Measurements in Extreme Environments.

Bhaganagar is a co-principal investigator at NASA MIRO CAMEE at UTSA.

Copyright 2020 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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