New app to calculate risk of Covid-19 transmission at home on anvil

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 23, 2020

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As winter sets in, people begin to spend more time indoors. This could be dangerous for the Covid-19 virus transmission due to close proximity and enclosed spaces at home.

At the 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics, researchers presented their study on the aerodynamics of infectious disease.

Their results suggested strategies for lowering risk based on a rigorous understanding of how infectious particles mix with air in confined spaces.

Earlier studies suggested that large, fast falling droplets help in Covid-19 spread. Later, studies claimed that at super-spreader events the airborne transmission of tiny particles from everyday activities may also be a dangerous route of infection.

In the new study, MIT mathematicians Martin Bazant and John Bush proposed a safety guideline built on existing models of airborne disease transmission. The guideline will help in identifying maximum levels of exposure in a variety of indoor environments.

The guideline that they presented depends on a metric called "cumulative exposure time," which is determined by multiplying the number of people in a room by the duration of the exposure.

The maximum depends on the size and ventilation rate of the room, the face-covering of its occupant, the infectiousness of aerosolized particles, and other factors.

For the effective facilitation of the guideline, the researchers worked with chemical engineer Kasim Khan to design an app and online spreadsheet that people can use to calculate the risk of transmission in different household settings.

The researchers stated that their guideline will provide a better, flow-dynamics-based understanding of how infected particles move through a room may ultimately yield smarter strategies for reducing transmission.

The study was published in the journal EurekAlert!.


Published on November 23, 2020

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