COVID-19 may spread through simply talking, as small respiratory droplets can hang in the air for at least eight minutes — and maybe even longer, according to researchers.
THURSDAY, May 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Small respiratory droplets produced while talking can hang in the air for at least eight minutes and perhaps even longer, researchers report.
The finding could explain why new coronavirus infections are more common in nursing homes, cruise ships and other confined locations with limited ventilation, the Washington Post reported.
The researchers used laser light to assess levels of small respiratory droplets that leave people's mouths when they speak. The study was published May 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Highly sensitive laser light scattering observations have revealed that loud speech can emit thousands of oral fluid droplets per second," the researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the University of Pennsylvania wrote.
It's been suspected that small droplets can spread the new coronavirus, but there are conflicting opinions among experts. There is widespread agreement that the virus is typically spread through large respiratory droplets, the Post reported.