Coronaviruses are most frequently transmitted when speaking

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According to a study, the most common way to become infected with corona is through conversation – mouth masks reduce the risk eightfold.

You’re mistaken if you think coronaviruses spread most through sneezing or coughing. As a new study shows, interpersonal conversations are the “dominant” form of coronavirus transmission.

What can help against it? First and foremost, mouth masks, because as the scientists found out, they can reduce the risk of infection by a factor of eight – as long as everyone involved wears a mask.

The study results were published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Talking is more infectious than coughing or sneezing
Tiny aerosols released when people speak linger longer in the air than larger droplets released when they cough or sneeze. The researchers believe their study shows “solid evidence” that talking is the “dominant” source of corona transmission.

“We’ve all seen some spit droplets fly when people talk, but thousands more are too small to see with the naked eye,” said study author Dr. Adriaan Bax of the National Institutes of Health.

“When spit evaporates from such virus-rich droplets, the haze hovers in the air like smoke for minutes, putting others at risk.” According to the study results, the size of the droplets is significant in transmission.

Large droplets fall to the ground over short distances because they are heavier. They play a “relatively small role in transmission.”
Meanwhile, smaller droplets, called aerosols, can spread the virus more than six and a half feet and linger in the air – these are emitted primarily when people speak.

Bax emphasized that the number of aerosols combined with the high viral load in pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals also indicates that coronavirus transmission through conversation is the most common form.

Infection usually begins in the nasopharynx or upper respiratory tract. Thus, it can travel to the lungs, lower respiratory tract, and other organs-often with severe consequences.
Infection in the lungs can result in the virus being excreted through respiratory and cough droplets. But it can also be spread through droplets in the nose and throat, where the coronavirus enters the body through inhalation when people speak.
In addition, the viral load can be very high in carriers with mild or no symptoms, such as adolescents and school children.

According to the medical expert, the pronunciation of the letters P, B, and T forms a liquid film on the lips blown into the air during a conversation. However, the risk of contracting corona in this way is also related to whether one is in a closed room, how good the ventilation is in said room, or how great the distance is between the interlocutors.

“Since eating and drinking often occur indoors and are typically associated with loud talking, we should not be surprised that bars and restaurants have become the epicenter of several recent superspreading events,” the study continues.

The scientists, therefore, advise people to keep their distance, especially in enclosed spaces, and to wear a mask and ventilate regularly.

  • source: k.at/picture: pixabay.com
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