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Social distancing may not be enough as a new study shows that particles from patients who are suffering from the coronavirus are still present 13 feet away from them. This is alarming enough that most governments have advised its people to practice social distancing (about one meter apart distance).

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What The Study Revealed

The study revealed that air samples from the hospital wards with COVID-19 patients could travel up to 13 feet or four meters, which is twice the regulated guidelines say that people should keep their distance.

The preliminary results done by Chinese researchers were published on Friday, Apr. 10, in the Emerging Infectious Diseases, which is a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC.

A team lead by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing tested the surface and air samples in an intensive care unit as well as a general COVID-19 ward at the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan. 

About 24 patients between February and March were admitted to both wards. All of them were included in the population sample for the study. 

During the ongoing research, the team found out that the virus was heavily concentrated over at the wards. They noted, "perhaps because of gravity and airflow causing most virus droplets to float to the ground."

Important to note, there were high levels of the virus on surfaces that were frequently touched like computer mice, bed rails, doorknobs, and trash bins.

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The team also had this to say: "Furthermore, half of the samples from the soles of the ICU medical staff shoes tested positive," and added, "Therefore, the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers."

Coronavirus Airborn Is A Serious Issue

The team was also able to test if the airborne threat and they found out that the virus-laden aerosol can reach up to 13 feet from the patients and about eight feet in the air.

The droplets of the virus are so tiny that they become suspended in the air and remain there for several hours, unlike cough or sneeze droplets that often fall to the ground with a matter of seconds.

Thankfully, there were no members from the team that was infected, and it's "indicating that appropriate precautions could effectively prevent infection," which the authors have duly noted. 

The authors gave some advice regarding a new guideline with the recent finding, "Our findings suggest that home isolation of persons with suspected COVID-19 might not be a good control strategy."

There is still so much to learn about just how infectious the coronavirus is. And require more study, especially on how tiny the particles are like ultrafine mist. 

In the United States and other countries, people have been advised to cover their mouths as the virus can still be able to transmitted through just breathing and speaking to one another. 

Regardless of the findings, it's still important to keep social distancing. Make sure to be always prepared for the worse since there is still a lot that we don't know about the virus and, more importantly, stay healthy and safe. 

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