An experiment conducted by Japan’s national broadcasting organization NHK in partnership with the Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases depicts the dispersion of micro-droplets during coughs, sneezes, and regular conversations, illustrating how they pose a risk for potential virus transmission.
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According to the President of the Japanese Association for Infectious Disease, Kazuhiro Tateda, the micrometer particles emitted during conversations could be transmitting coronavirus when people are in close proximity to one another.
“Viruses are alive in the smallest droplets, when you talk loudly or breathe heavily, you emit micro-droplets, which the people around you inhale. This process can increase the risk of an outbreak,” said Tateda.
The experiment was conducted using high-sensitivity cameras and laser beams that have the possess the ability to detct droplets as small as 0.1 micrometers (0.0001 millimeter) to record the behavior of droplets during a sneeze and a regular conversation.
The video shows how large droplets containing mucus or saliva emitted during a sneeze fall to the ground at a quick pace.
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Viewing the same scene through a high-sensitivity camera displays the micrometer particles that are not readily visible to the naked eye. The micrometer particles are shown persistently lingering in the air surrounding the person sneezing for a longer duration than the initial droplets released.
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The experiment also demonstrated the situations during which people are at risk of inhaling these droplets through a stimulation of what happens when a person coughs inside a closed room, and detected that the micro-droplets could remain in the air for up to 20 minutes.