As winter approaches, the United States is struggling with a decline in the number of novels. Coronavirus Infections. More than 288,000 Americans have died from a virus that public health officials now say can be spread by airborne transmission.
Scientists say the virus is spread through very close contact. But in some cases, people less than six feet away can be infected by exposure to droplets and particles carried by an infected person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Said in October. Droplets and particles can hang in the air for minutes to hours.
To see the risk of airborne transmission in real time, the Washington Post used a military-grade infrared camera capable of detecting shortness of breath. Many experts – epidemiologists, virologists and engineers – support the idea of using the colony as a conservative proxy to illustrate potential transmission risks in different settings.
“Images tell a lot, a lot,” said Rajat Mittal, a professor of mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Engineering and a virus transmission specialist. “It’s very precious to meet two people and really imagine what’s going on between them.”
The highly sensitive camera system detects variations in infrared radiation that are invisible to the naked eye. The technology is widely used in military and industrial settings, such as to detect methane gas leaks in pipes. In 2013, it was deployed by law enforcement during a 20-hour maneuver for the Boston Marathon bombers.
But fitted with a filter that specifically targets the infrared signature of carbon dioxide, the camera can be used to map real-time partial paths of almost invisible particles that we call exha.
According to experts, the footage shows the potential risk of airborne particles. Those particles can spread far or wide beyond the visible plume, which disperses rapidly to a level of consistency that the camera can no longer detect.
Environmental factors such as the flow of air in a space can reduce the likelihood of wind and sunlight spreading, just as behavioral factors can reduce masks and reduce social distances. The risk of exposure increases when people are not wearing masks and gather in an enclosed space or low-lying area.
Many of these situations will become more common as Americans spend more and more time indoors in the coming months. Watch the video at the top of the page to see footage from various settings.