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Research Proves That Coronavirus Particles Can Stay Airborne For More Than An Hour

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Research Proves That Coronavirus Particles Can Stay Airborne For More Than An Hour

A team of doctors and mechanical engineers working out of a hospital in Ireland have shown that coronavirus droplets can stay around in the air for more than an hour after being expelled. Check it out in the video below - after which you might feel even more inclined to wear a mask:

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Their experiment also displayed how droplets from a person's mouth can travel longer than two metres from a starting point, making the wearing of face masks even more vital.

The team, which included engineers from University College Dublin and doctors from Mater Hospital, demonstrated the speed and distance of droplets through a selection of tests using old and new technologies.

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Bizarrely, the experiments also showed that aerosols used during surgery can also carry the virus, meaning that medical staff must take extra care when performing surgery on patients suffering with coronavirus.

Dr Kevin Nolan from UCD applied two techniques to show the effectiveness of wearing masks.

He began by using Schlieren technology - an older technique that relies on mirrors and light to show fluid and gas density, as well as the speed and distances they can be propelled to by a cough or a sneeze.

Credit: UCD
Credit: UCD
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He told the Irish Times: "We can see that large droplets fall quickly to the ground while smaller particles which can contain the virus linger in the atmosphere,

"When someone with Covid-19 coughs or sneezes, some of the particles carry the virus and others don't, which is why I refer to it as Russian roulette."

In short, the research showed that wearing a mask has a massive impact on the distance travelled by droplets.

Nolan continued: "Conspiracy theorists will have you believe masks can't work because the virus is so small and can travel through material but that is to misunderstand the science.

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"Yes, you can liken the virus to a minnow which can easily pass through a fishing net but the reality is that every minnow is travelling not in isolation but in a droplet of liquid and that is what the masks can catch."

Credit: UCD
Credit: UCD

Then, the team used another - more modern - method, using high-powered lasers to check how long droplets can go for, and how long they stay airborne.

Surprise, wearing a mask is going to help you out.

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They used the laser technique to discover that aerosols used during surgery can also provide a method by which the virus could spread.

Mater's Professor of Surgery Ronan Cahill added: "You can think you know your environment and you can get very comfortable with it but when you can see exactly what is happening using this technology it is very shocking - and now we have a different way of looking at that."

Wear a mask, guys.

Especially if you're performing surgery, but also if you're just out and about.

Featured Image Credit: UCD

Topics: Science, World News, Technology

Tom Wood
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