Can Coronavirus Be Transmitted By Talking or Breathing?

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When the coronavirus pandemic began, experts reported that the virus was spread through droplets when an infected person coughed or sneezed.

In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said talking is one the ways people can transmit COVID-19, reported by Today. A new study now explains why talking can spread the virus.

Researchers reported in The Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences, that “speech droplets” produced by people who possibly are infected but don’t show any symptoms, can stay in the air for eight to 14 minutes.

Scientists at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the University of Pennsylvania studied people who had to repeat the words “stay healthy” for 25 seconds. During the experiment, scientists chose the specific phase because the “th” in the world “healthy” was found to be “an efficient generator of oral fluid speech droplets.”

The participants of the study were ask to say this word into a box. While talking, the results were looked at using a laser light scattering technique. This found that 2,600 small droplets were transmitted per second as a person talks with loud speech.

The authors shared that when people talk, it they can generate droplets that can remain suspended for minutes and are "eminently capable of transmitting disease in confined spaces.”

Dr. Harvey Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in Palo Alto, California, said people may produce droplets that are invisible and very tiny, so you cannot see them. He added that they are big enough to carry a virus if you’re infected and are talking to someone.

This research led the CDC to recommend Americans wear face coverings in public.

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