We have to keep a meter and a half away, but that is according to a new study by the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) actually too little.
The researchers have discovered that the droplets released when we cough or sneeze are spread much further than one and a half meters. The virus droplets move at 10 to 30 meters per second and can thus form a cloud 7 to 8 meters away. They can also float in the air for hours via ventilation or climate control systems.
“The current distance-keeping guidelines are based on estimates that have not yet taken into account the possible presence of a cloud that could carry the droplets over a greater distance,” the MIT researchers said.
“It may lead to a longer distance in social dictancing, or for example that healthcare workers should also wear their protective clothing if they are not in the immediate vicinity of an infected patient,” they write. Journal of the American Medical Association.
A Belgian virologist responds to the news: “Maybe some droplets do indeed travel a greater distance than the one and a half meters, but in any case that is a workable and effective distance.”