Some of us might doubt how social distancing and staying at home can help us stop spreading viruses or diseases. This supercomputer modeling tests prove exactly how virus such as COVID-19 can spread in a grocery store.
A team of Finnish researchers from four different organizations – Aalto University, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Helsinki attempt to figure out how pathogens like COVID-19 spread in spaces like grocery stores.
Hence, they set out to address these uncertainties by running supercomputer simulations. First, they modeled a space with aisles between shelves, just like the design of a typical grocery store we’ve been to. Then they introduced human figures, one each in two adjacent aisles.
In the 3D model, the first person coughs in a corridor, bounded by shelves under representative indoor ventilation air flow conditions.
The ‘cough’ was seen spraying a cloud of aerosol particles smaller than 20 micrometers in front of the person – and started to spread on the other part of the space, hitting the other person.
As a result of coughing, an aerosol cloud travels in the air to the corridor. It takes up to several minutes for the cloud to spread and disperse.
The researchers observed how these particles – which move along air currents or linger in the air instead of sinking – moved throughout the simulated space. As we can see, the particle moves across the shelves and hit the other person on the different aisle.
Based on this, the researchers concluded that the airborne particles could infect other shoppers during those crucial minutes, well after the coughing person had walked away.
This means that you still can get affected by the virus even when you didn’t get close to anyone during your time in the public space.
The particles take several minutes to disperse completely.
“We recommend that you stay at home if you are unwell and that you maintain physical distance with everyone. The instructions also include coughing into your sleeve or a tissue and taking care of good hand hygiene,” said Jussi Sane, chief specialist at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, reminding us to take good care of ourselves during this crucial time.
Watch the full video here:
Wash your hands, stay at home, and stay safe!
Source: HPC Wire