A study released today warns that the social distance of 1.5 meters recommended by health authorities is insufficient to prevent contagion by covid-19 and that this distance must be at least four meters.
The values recommended in the study by researchers and engineers specialized in fluid dynamics, from the universities of Leuven, in Belgium, and Eindhoven, in the Netherlands, are based on simulations of the way saliva particles are released when people are standing, walking , running or cycling.
“If someone exhales, coughs or sneezes while walking, running or cycling, most microparticles remain in a draft behind that person, which causes another person to come after him or her to move through that cloud of microparticles”, explains Bert Blocken, professor of civil engineering at both universities.
The study found that the recommended distance of 1.5 meters is “very effective” for those who stay indoors or outdoors in good weather, but that it is insufficient for situations where people are walking or playing sports.
The study also reveals that the risk is greater when one person is behind the other and is reduced if one is walking or running side by side or in diagonal formation.
Even so, experts advise that in view of the calculations performed, a distance of four or five meters is maintained when walking behind someone else, ten meters when running or cycling slowly and at least twenty meters when walking fast.
The new coronavirus, responsible for the covid-19 pandemic, has already infected more than 1.5 million people worldwide, of whom nearly 89,000 died.
After appearing in China in December, the outbreak spread worldwide, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic situation.
In Portugal, according to the balance made on Wednesday by the Directorate-General for Health, there were 380 deaths, 35 more than the day before (+ 10.1%), and 13,141 cases of confirmed infections, which represents an increase 699 compared to Tuesday (+ 5.6%).
Portugal, where the first confirmed cases were registered on March 2, has been in a state of emergency since 00:00 on March 19 and until the end of April 17, after the extension approved on Thursday at Assembly of the Republic.