A few days ago, an MIT researcher, Professor Lydia Bourouiba, published a startling paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association claiming the coronavirus can travel up to eight meters by coughing and sneezing and infect people. She also stressed that social distancing is going to be nothing but a huge failure in containing the virus as its reach is much wider than expected.
Bourouiba stated that droplets from cough and sneeze which contain the coronavirus take short-range, semi-ballistic trajectories when a person exhales, coughs or sneezes and the virus evades evaporation into the atmosphere. "The locally moist and warm atmosphere within the turbulent gas cloud allows the contained droplets to evade evaporation for much longer than occurs with isolated droplets," she said.
"Under these conditions, the lifetime of a droplet could be considerably extended by a factor of up to 1000, from a fraction of a second to minutes," the researcher explained.
The MIT Researchers claim shocked the health care sector overnight and medical experts were left baffled. Reacting to Bourouiba's claims, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading US government infectious disease expert, said they were misleading.
Standing at the podium at the White House during a press conference, he said: "I'm sorry, but I was disturbed by that report because that's misleading." He added that a "very, very robust, vigorous, achoo sneeze" is required for the droplets to travel such a distance, and not everyone can sneeze to that extent. "That's not practical. That is not practical," he said.
Coronavirus death toll in the US
The coronavirus pandemic is haunting the United States as 245,442 cases have been confirmed positive and 6,098 people have lost their lives as on April 3. The government has shut its borders and ordered a complete lockdown and only essential services are available. The hardest hit in the US is New York city and NY Governor Andrew Cuoma warned that more than 16,000 people in the city could be fatal victims of the pandemic.
In Europe, Italy and Spain are the worst hit with 13,915 and 10,935 deaths respectively and the numbers are drastically increasing each passing day