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Spreading on the wind? And in water?

(51 Posts)
KatieGoesKaboom Mon 06-Apr-20 08:05:21

Genuine (and probably stupid) questions, I'm not trying to panic anyone. I may be more paranoid than normal due to going outside yesterday for the first time in 3 weeks. sad

Am I right in thinking that a single viable virus finding its way into your eye or mouth is enough to cause an infection? Or does it need a big dollop (in virus-sized terms) of virus-laden fluid?

I was walking the dog last night in the wind and it occurred to me that we've had sand/dust on our cars blown all the way from the Sahara before, so virus-laden fluid droplets can probably be carried a lot further than 2 metres in a wind.

So if someone was to sneeze on top of the Eiffel tower would a billion virus-containing droplets be spread, however thinly, over a wide area, and a single microscopic droplet land in someone's eye a mile away?

Similarly, I believe that corona viruses can live in water and untreated sewage for some time. Would light spray blowing from a waterfall or weir be a potential danger if the water carried a considerable amount of waste? I'm thinking of the Mersey in particular.

ssd Mon 06-Apr-20 08:07:00

I read somewhere that the virus is too heavy to float around in the air.

KatieGoesKaboom Mon 06-Apr-20 08:10:30

Heavier than sand?

foamrolling Mon 06-Apr-20 08:13:42

Think about this logically a minute. In countries where they have gone into lockdown the spread of the virus has slowed right down. They have no doubt had their windows open or we'd have heard otherwise. If it was in the water it would get into the water everywhere, including reservoirs and into out drinking water. Lockdown would have made no impact on the spread of the virus if it was in the air or water would it?

midgebabe Mon 06-Apr-20 08:17:20

Indeed Italy and Spain are seeing decline in infections despite singing on the balconies

dementedpixie Mon 06-Apr-20 08:19:36

It would surely be diluted and dispersed too much to be infective in the air.

dementedpixie Mon 06-Apr-20 08:23:40

And if it spread that way then the r0 would be more than 2.5 (the number of people 1 person will infect). Measles is airborne and has r0 of 12-18 in comparison

KatieGoesKaboom Mon 06-Apr-20 08:24:30

It would surely be diluted and dispersed too much to be infective in the air.

That's what I'm asking really. Saliva/mucus droplets can be microscopic but presumably still float around on the wind. Is one microscopic droplet containing a single virus enough to cause an infection?

dementedpixie Mon 06-Apr-20 08:25:45

It cant be or we'd all have it and self isolation wouldn't work.

KatieGoesKaboom Mon 06-Apr-20 08:27:13

And if it spread that way then the r0 would be more than 2.5 (the number of people 1 person will infect). Measles is airborne and has r0 of 12-18 in comparison

That's presumably airborne in itself though. I'm not suggesting that this is airborne - we know it's spread by droplets. It's what distance those droplets could travel in a wind, while containing a viable virus, that I'm concerned about.

KindKylie Mon 06-Apr-20 08:28:30

Whilst it may be true that the virus may be detectable on many ways, it is not also true that the virus spreads in all these ways.

I don't think we know all this stuff yet but it would be reasonable to assume that it behaves similarly to many other cornavirus es (I read this somewhere!) and therefore it is highly likely that is most effectively transmitted between living hosts in close contact - hence the impact of social distancing on numbers of new infections.

dementedpixie Mon 06-Apr-20 08:32:02

In lab conditions aerosol particles in still air lasted up to 3 hours. In other conditions I would assume it would last time in the air and be dispersed faster

Flossie44 Mon 06-Apr-20 08:32:15

I did wonder the same....if you were out for you allowance of a small run or bike ride. And someone was to cough ahead of you. Could you then run or cycle through the air that the coughed in and be covered with aerosol droplets of virus still floating about?? Or does the virus go straight to surfaces and not linger in the air for others to pass through??

dementedpixie Mon 06-Apr-20 08:32:39

*Last less time

mummmy2017 Mon 06-Apr-20 08:33:39

Probably your right, if you walk into the 2m space as someone sneezed you could catch some of the droplets.
But if you were caught only a small amount hits your face or hands, if you turn away from the person your hair not face would be caught.
But it takes a second and in that second the droplets also fall to the ground.
So it should be walking on the droplets you worry about.

Derbygerbil Mon 06-Apr-20 08:36:19

So it should be walking on the droplets you worry about

Surely only if you routinely rub the soles of your shoes when you get in with your fingers and then proceed to lick them...,

KatieGoesKaboom Mon 06-Apr-20 08:41:27

But if you were caught only a small amount hits your face or hands

How large an amount does it have to be to cause an infection though?

mummmy2017 Mon 06-Apr-20 08:42:03

Lol. Love the imagine of licking your shoes.
Some people do hold their shoes to take them off .
Was told leave shoes at door, and wipe clean , made sense to me, and to wash hands after you come home

BarkandCheese Mon 06-Apr-20 08:46:26

The other day I was walking my dog, the pavement was empty but a car slowed down at a junction ahead of me and as they slowed the driver blew a cloud of vape ‘smoke’ out of the window which blew straight into my face. I hadn’t considered before how far something exhaled by a person (as opposed to sneezed or coughed out) could travel but because I could see and smell the vape cloud it was clear. It did make me rather concerned about how much the virus could actually spread just from simple breathing.

SwerfandTurf Mon 06-Apr-20 08:54:27

It is not airborne. The particles are heavy and not carried by wind. It enters through mucous membranes. The only way to get infected is either by an infected person coughing near you and the particles entering your nose and mouth, or by them touching a surface that you then touch and the touch your face (if you touch an infected surface but are careful to avoid touching your face until you’re able to wash your hands then you’ll almost certainly not get infected). The virus can live on surfaces for different amounts of time, for example it doesn’t stick to cardboard well.

Viral load also makes a big difference in how likely it is that you’ll get sick. If a single stray virus particle enters you, that’s probably not enough to make you sick.

noblegiraffe Mon 06-Apr-20 09:00:22

The first people to get ill had all brought it from travel abroad, it didn’t blow across the Channel. The next few people to catch it had all had close contact with a known case.

KatieGoesKaboom Mon 06-Apr-20 09:01:04

If it was in the water it would get into the water everywhere, including reservoirs and into out drinking water.

Normal water treatment kills other corona viruses apparently, as does proper sewage treatment. The Mersey occasionally (during the recent floods for example) carries a lot of untreated sewage and other untreated water. There are weirs and locks on the river and the connected waterways which produce some spray - or droplets if you prefer.

KatieGoesKaboom Mon 06-Apr-20 09:02:09

It is not airborne. The particles are heavy and not carried by wind

Water droplets clearly are carried by the wind.

SwerfandTurf Mon 06-Apr-20 09:06:22

It’s not being carried in water droplets spread on the wind, stop this ludicrous scaremongering.

Reginabambina Mon 06-Apr-20 09:07:55

I read that the quantity of the virus that you are exposed to can be a determining factor in its severity. Ifs single virus particle infects you that’s probably a good thing.

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