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Image: Aalto University/YouTube

After a person infected with the coronavirus coughs, sneezes or even talks, the air particles carrying the virus can remain in the air for several minutes and spread further than you might think, according to a joint project from four research institutions in Finland.

Developed by researchers from Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Finnish Meteorological Institute, their model illustrates a scenario where an infected person coughs in an aisle between two shelves — like the setup of a typical grocery store. A team of researchers from each institution modeled the scenario independently, and came to the same preliminary conclusion.

Watch a 3D visualization of the results:

"Someone infected by the coronavirus can cough and walk away, but then leave behind extremely small aerosol particles carrying the coronavirus. These particles could then end up in the respiratory tract of others in the vicinity," said Ville Vuorinen, an assistant professor at Aalto University, in a press release about the project.

In the press release, Jussi Sane, chief specialist at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, said the results of this study emphasize the importance of social distancing.

Read the full press release.

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