Distance travelled by respiratory droplets (search done before 31 March 2020)

Added June 2, 2020

Citation:Bahl P, Doolan C, de Silva C, et al. Airborne or droplet precautions for health workers treating COVID-19?. The Journal of infectious diseases. 2020 Apr 16.

What is this? Strategies to minimise the risk of infection from the airborne or droplet transmission of SARS-CoV-2 are important for the prevention of COVID-19.

In this rapid review, the authors searched for research that used experiments or mathematical modeling to investigate how far respiratory droplets travel horizontally. They did not restrict their searches by the date of publication but did restrict to articles published in English. They did the search up to the end of March 2020. They included 10 studies, 5 of which included experiments with human subjects.

What was found: There is limited scientific data to inform spatial separation guidelines and a growing body of evidence that droplet precautions are not appropriate for SARS-CoV-2.

In some studies, respiratory droplets travelled more than 2 meters.

The impact of physical factors, such as temperature and ventilation, on droplet transmission is uncertain.


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