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Old 03-24-2020, 11:23 PM
clingmansdome clingmansdome is offline
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Lots has been written on this topic. Viruses like H1N1 and covid19 are usually broadcast through respiratory droplets, since the viruses have evolved to infect and inhabit the human respiratory system. When a person sneezes, coughs, blows their nose, spits, or in some way ejects respiratory droplets, the droplets will carry the virus. If someone inhales the droplets or the droplets get into someone's eyes, the virus can inhabit the person's respiratory tract and reproduce, which can lead to symptoms that are common to the viral infection.
You don't necessarily have to filter out the virus, as long as you can filter out the respiratory droplets that carry the virus. I wear safety glasses that seal around my eyes to protect them from the virus, and I use an N95 mask that is well fitted, to protect my nose and mouth.
Since a person can transport the virus from their hands to their eyes, nose, or mouth, wearing gloves and/or washing hands thoroughly is also necessary.
Also, when a person sneezes, coughs, or in some other way broadcasts respiratory droplets, the concentration of droplets lessens as the distance from the broadcasting orifice increases, in a manner that is similar to the inverse square law. In other words, if the concentration of droplets is X at distance Y from the broadcasting orifice, if the distance Y is doubled, the concentration X decreases by a factor of four. If distance Y is quadrupled, then concentration X becomes about X/16.
There have been studies done at the CDC to determine how long a certain type of virus can survive if its respiratory droplet lands on different materials. Basically, you should assume that anything you touch in an infected area contains live virus capable of infecting your respiratory tract, which is why wearing gloves and washing your hands is so important.
Best practice is to stay away from infected places and people. If you can't do that, wear mouth, nose, eye and hand protection, and if you hear someone cough or sneeze, move rapidly in the opposite direction to increase distance and decrease droplet concentration. It's also important to know that respiratory droplets are very small and can be transported on air currents over fairly long distances, so if you're in a Walmart and you hear someone cough, the store's ventilation system can carry them to you if the air currents lead in your direction.
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