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Cough droplets can travel farther than 6 feet, according to new simulation study

Generic face mask image.
Generic face mask image. (Juraj Varga/Pixabay)

A new simulation study suggests that a person coughing can traject droplets beyond six feet, CNN reports.

According to CNN, the new study, published on Tuesday in the journal Physics of Fluids found this puts people shorter than the person coughing – such as children – at greater risk of being exposed to cough droplets.

“Young children may be at greater risk compared to adults based on the typical downward cough trajectory. Teenagers and short adults are advised to maintain a social distance greater than 2 m from taller persons,” the study says according to CNN. “Surgical masks are known to be effective at trapping large droplets and therefore recommended for use as necessary.”

According to the new simulation, some droplets can travel as far as 21.6 feet depending on air temperatures, relative humidity, wind speed and distances between the person coughing and people nearby.

According to CNN, the results of the study are based on simulation models and not real-life experiments.

The CDC strongly recommends wearing a mask as a form of protection and in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.


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