Research has shown that the coronavirus is highly contagious and can linger in rooms and toilets. In Singapore, a cluster identified at Safra Jurong in March was linked to a private dinner function from which 47 cases were detected.
So you may be wondering, how does the coronavirus spread among people and what’s the extent of the spread?
Japan’s national broadcasting organisation NHK conducted an experiment to show just how quickly someone with COVID-19 can spread the virus to others in the same room within a span of just 30 minutes.
In the experiment, 10 participants simulated a buffet scenario, with one person designated as an infected person.
Presuming that the man had coughed into his hand, an invisible fluorescent paint was applied onto his palm as a representation of the virus lingering on his skin. Under blacklight, the paint glows pale, so viewers can see the effect of the spread.
After 30 minutes, the results were pretty alarming.
How does the coronavirus spread among people and what’s the extent of the spread? | Photo: iStock
It was found that the paint had spread to the hands of all participants, and had even gotten on the faces of three people. Plates, clothes and serving utensils such as the beverage handle and tongs were also contaminated.
Watch the full video here.
Separately, another experiment conducted by NHK in the same setting showed vastly different results under different conditions. As a countermeasure against the infection, dishes were separated and sharing utensils were changed more frequently.
Participants were also encouraged to clean their hands diligently throughout the meal as well.
The results showed that the spread of the paint on all the participants’ hands dropped by 97 per cent in the second experiment compared to the first, and the ‘virus’ was not detected on participants’ faces.
Even wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves is not enough if hygiene practises are not observed. | Photo: iStock
While we may be sitting at home complaining about the circuit-breaker extension and the boredom it brings, these experiments show the importance of social distancing and proper hygiene.
Even wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves is not enough if hygiene practises are not observed.
Being complacent while wearing protective gear may even lead to a higher rate of cross-contamination, as shown in a recent viral video by a nurse in the US.
Using paint to represent coronavirus particles, she showed how germs can be transferred from one surface to another, from mindlessly touching other things and then using the same hands to touch your phone and face.
Witnessing how easily the “coronavirus” spreads to others in these videos, it’s even more essential for everyone to stay home and to wash your hands regularly.
Lead image via Screengrab/YouTube/NHK
This post was first published in AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
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