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UTSA study shows that coronavirus airborne particles can travel more than a mile

SAN ANTONIO – Airborne coronavirus particles can travel more than a mile, depending on weather conditions, according to a new study by an associate professor of mechanical engineering at UTSA.

The peer-reviewed study, authored by Kiran Baganagar and her student Sudhir Bimireddi, used meteorological data from New York in March and April to conduct computer simulations of how meteorological models will affect airborne virus particles – hundreds of thousands of which could be expelled with a cough.

“From the initial release time, the virus can spread for up to 30 minutes in the air, covering a radius of 200 meters at a time, moving 1

-2 km from the source,” according to the study.

The study does not specify how much of the virus must be present to infect someone. So it does not reflect at what point the plume may no longer pose a danger to bystanders.

However, Bhaganagar still sees the results as evidence of the role that airborne transmission could play in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In most cases, we found that about a kilometer was where they were significantly available,” she told KSAT on Tuesday. “So, even though we don’t know how many numbers it takes to get infected, there’s a good chance they’re the reason for the transmission – as one of the ways.”

Although prevention efforts have focused on avoiding close contact with infected people, there are also discussions about the possibility of the coronavirus spreading through the air.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published and then withdrew statements on its website earlier this month that appear to indicate that it believes the virus can hang in the air and spread over long distances, according to a report. of the Associated Press.

The CDC’s website currently states that the draft version of the changes to its recommendations was published in error and that it is updating its recommendations regarding air transmission.

So far, the website says the virus is thought to have spread among people up to six feet apart through respiratory droplets.

The UTSA study is expected to be published in the December issue of the journal Environmental research. It was funded by a grant from NASA’s MIRO Center for Advanced Measurements in Extreme Environments.

Bhaganagar is a principal investigator at NASA MIRO CAMEE at UTSA.

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