How We Contract the Virus
Written by Dallas Vein Specialists on July 16, 2020
A SNEEZE – releases about 30,000 droplets, traveling up to 200 miles per hour and may release as many as 200,000,000 (two hundred million) viral particles that are dispersed in a large surrounding area where, as small droplets, they may linger in the air. A sneeze is the worst.
A COUGH – releases about 3,000 droplets, traveling at 50 miles per hour; most of the droplets are large and fall quickly but smaller ones stay suspended in the air and can travel across a room
A BREATH – single breaths release from 50 to 5,000 droplets, which travel at low velocity and fall quickly. Fewer droplets are released from nose breaths than from mouth breathing. The lowered exhalation force of a normal breath means that viral particles from the lower respiratory system are not expelled. The cumulative viral count in breaths of infectious individuals goes up as the number of breaths exhaled.
SPEAKING – increases the release of droplets about 10-fold or about 200 virus particles per minute. It would take 5 minutes of inhaling all these viral particles to reach the hypothetical 1,000 viral particle threshold for infection. Loud talking expels more viral particles than normal conversation.
SURFACES – especially in public bathrooms – Treat with Caution the door handles, faucets doors and surfaces.
We know this virus is very contagious, but how much of this virus is necessary to establish an infection? The short and accurate answer is that we do not know, but some experts estimate that as few as 1000 SARS-CoV2 viral particles are sufficient to bring on infection. An infectious dose may result from an eye rub or from one or more breath inhalations.
The risk of infection in an outdoor environment with physical distancing is quite low.
The greatest risk of infection comes from long periods of time with groups of people in confined spaces indoors. According to Erin Bromage, Associate Professor of Biology and Comparative Immunologist of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, from whom much of this information comes, “The main sources for infection are home, workplace, public transport, social gatherings, and restaurants. This accounts for 90% of all transmission events. In contrast, outbreaks spread from shopping appear to be responsible for a small percentage of traced infections.”