Contact time, wearing a mask, number of people or ventilation. These are some of the factors that contribute – or not – to a covid-19 infection in crowded areas. Thinking about the doubts of people who are invited to meetings, events or meetings, researchers from the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, and those from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the United States, created a table to help anyone who wants interact with others without neglecting care to avoid infection with SARS-CoV-2.
The article, which offers a risk assessment based on distance, contact time, space occupation, ventilation and even if participants are silent, talking, shouting or singing, was published in the scientific magazine BMJ.
The risk of infection is determined by many factors and they are all linked ”, Lydia Borouiba, an MIT researcher and one of the study’s authors, told the BBC. “There is still no study that determines the absolute risk of each activity, but with this table, we want people to know how to assess the relative risk of each situation and so they can adapt,” he explained.
According to the study, social distance is not enough to prevent infection, although it should not be ignored: because of the particles that travel suspended in the air, the two meters should really be the minimum safe distance between people in any situation. . Hence also the need to consider contact time, air circulation in the space and the use of a mask to prevent any infections.
The researchers’ recommendation, for situations in which, according to the tables, the risk of contagion by covid-19 is low, is that the rule of two meters and the use of a mask be maintained. If you have to get closer to someone, in situations considered to be low risk, “you don’t need to panic”, advise the researchers. In situations of medium risk, it is advisable to keep the two meters distance more rigid and always use a mask. When the risk is high, the ideal is to go over two meters and wear a quality mask, never making it easy to be close to others.