A new study conducted by researchers at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research has found that coronavirus can travel up to 26 feet (8 meters) under cold and stale air conditions. Researchers made this conclusion after analyzing the transmission of the pathogen from one human to another at a German slaughterhouse.
The new finding is expected to shed light on how meat plants turned into coronavirus hotspots in different parts of the world.
The Social Distancing Dilemma
In the initial days of the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) had recommended a social distancing of two meters while interacting with others to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, the new study that reconstructed the Toennies Group slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck reveals that the pathogen has more strength to target humans in cold and stale settings.
Being a low-ventilated, cold and stale area, coronavirus had infected more than 1,500 people in the German slaughterhouse. Researchers who took part in the study revealed that similar conditions in meat plants are the main reason behind the spread of coronavirus in other parts of the world.
Even though there is no evidence for coronavirus being spread through food, countries like China are ramping up testing of imports of cold food. The new study report also hints at the fact that no meat plants in the world are built to face such a crisis.
MIT Study Shared Similar Views
A few weeks back, another study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had suggested that coronavirus could have a farther reach than previous assumptions, especially when a person is coughing or sneezing.
According to Lydia Bourouiba, an associate professor at MIT, the pathogen could reach a distance of 8 meters when a patient is coughing and sneezing, and she added that the only way to stay away from the virus is by maintaining effective social distancing measures.
"There's an urgency in revising the guidelines currently being given by the WHO and the CDC on the needs for protective equipment, particularly for the frontline health care workers," said Bourouiba.