Canada Contagion through the air: the danger of aerosol in crowded parks is so great

18:28  23 february  2021
18:28  23 february  2021 Source:   fitforfun.de

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  Ansteckung durch die Luft: So groß ist die Aerosolgefahr in vollen Parks © gettyimages / miodrag ignjatovic Despite the pandemic, when the weather is nice, many people crowd into the parks and green spaces. Here an aerosol expert explains how great the risk of infection is.

The wonderful spring weather ensures that the parks and excursion destinations are crowded. Understandable, because the longing for sun and carefree moments after the long Corona winter is great.

But how dangerous is that right now, when the much more contagious mutations could give Germany a third virus wave before the second is even over?

400 to 4000 viruses are required for infection.

"The risk of being infected outside is practically zero," explains aerosol expert Gerhard Scheuch from Gemünden. In order for an infection with the coronavirus to occur outside at all, one would have to get very close and that over a longer period of time:

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"You would need to stand together outside for at least five to 15 minutes for an infection to occur," explains the expert who runs his own research institute for bio-inhalation in Gemünden.

Because for an infection to take place, a person would have to ingest at least 400 to 4000 viruses, which are expelled by aerosol clouds of an infected person while speaking and breathing.

The mutation doesn't change that either, says Scheuch. "At least with the B.1.1.7 variant, according to a new study by Harvard University, it seems to be the case that the variant is not more contagious per se because the people concerned emit more virus, but because they are contagious over a longer period of time than would be the case with the non-mutated Sars-Cov-2 virus, "explains Scheuch.

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We are 99.9 percent inside.

therefore restricting outdoor activities or even imposing curfews is not very effective. "Corona is primarily an indoor problem - 99.9 percent of us are infected there," emphasizes the researcher.

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"Of course we also have to keep our distance and reduce contacts outside, but a curfew or the restriction of leisure activities outside helps in the fight against the pandemic little further. "

Scheuch also considers the fact that we never started skiing in Germany to be an unnecessary measure. "In Switzerland the numbers are declining, although the ski lifts have been open since December and even Tyrol, where the South African mutation is currently more prevalent, has the second lowest incidence of all federal states in Austria."

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On the other hand, it is much more urgent to take better measures for interiors. Scheuch therefore cannot understand why more extensive protective measures are not taken in old people's and nursing homes.

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"Around 50 percent of corona deaths are people from old people's and nursing homes because there is a high risk of infection there because of the many contacts," says Scheuch.

With regard to schools, Scheuch sees another measure to prevent infections: "Time plays an important role - if the time spent with someone infected in a room doubles, the risk of infection quadruples," explains the expert.

This is why he advocates keeping school hours as short as possible. "Better three times 30 minutes and twice 45 minutes," says Scheuch.

We have to find "super emitters"

One of the most important issues that Scheuch deals with as an aerosol researcher is also the question of how one can identify those people who are really also contagious.

"We already know from epidemiological data that only about 25 percent of those infected are responsible for further infections," he explains. That means 75 percent are infected, but do not pass the virus on.

That is why Scheuch is currently researching how to find out which infected people are most contagious. “If we could isolate the so-called super emitters, we would have found an important lever in the fight against the pandemic.” However, transmission only takes place very rarely outside in the fresh air.

This article first appeared on FOCUS Online.

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This is interesting!