Covid-19: unnecessary physical distancing to limit virus transmission?

The Essentials A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study argues that good ventilation, as opposed to physical distancing, is key to reducing the spread of Covid-19 in an enclosed space. Limiting the reception capacity in closed locations would therefore be ineffective.

Social distancing may not limit the transmission of the virus, according to a new study from MIT. Indeed, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a model to calculate the risk of exposure to Covid-19 in closed places, which has been analyzed by our colleagues from L’Indépendant.

Taking into account various factors such as time indoors, air filtration, or wearing a mask, MIT concluded that only good ventilation would reduce the circulation of the virus in the patient’s air. The study shows that physical distancing can protect against large drops expelled during a sneeze or cough. However, it would be ineffective against droplets, which are primarily responsible for transmitting the virus that we spread when we speak or breathe.

The researchers go even further and even claim that when people breathe through a mask, these droplets can spread in a poorly ventilated room. Worse, in a poorly ventilated room, when people breathe through a mask, the droplets tend to rise and spread in the entrusted space. The risk of contamination is then higher and thus increases the risk of contamination.

According to the researchers, therefore, “no solid scientific basis” proves the effectiveness of physical distancing in an enclosed space, regardless of the distance. However, a well-ventilated room will limit the spread of the virus. According to the researchers, it can even “be operated safely even at full capacity”. The time spent in an enclosed space would also play a role in the spread of the virus

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