Coronavirus social distancing limit is at least four times too short as sneeze droplets can fly 26ft, study warns

THE advised social distancing limit is at least four times too short as sneeze droplets can fly up to 26 feet, a study has warned.

People are being told to stay at least 6ft 6in, or two metres, apart to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

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A new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has suggested the space between people should be four times larger to about 26 feet.

The study found that viral droplets from coughs and sneezes can travel in warm atmospheres at speeds between 33 feet and 100 feet per second, The Daily Telegraph reports.

This creates a cloud that can reach between 23 feet and 27 feet to neighbouring people.

The droplets from coughs and sneezes are said to linger in the air for several hours as well as contribute to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

The direction of the droplets can also change by air ventilation systems to create "turbulent clouds of air".

Boris Johnson has told Brits to "stay home" and avoid going outside to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

However, pictures from today show thousands of Brits still flocking to parks and beaches, and being less than the government-advised distance apart.

In London, images this week showed packed Tube carriages on the London Underground.

The authors of the study have also explained why social distancing needs to be increased.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jama), the authors wrote: "These distances are based on estimates of range that have not considered the possible presence of a high-momentum cloud carrying the droplets long distances.

"Given the turbulent puff cloud dynamic model, recommendations for separations of three feet to six feet (one metre to two metres) may underestimate the distance, timescale, and persistence over which the cloud and its pathogenic payload travel, thus generating an underappreciated potential exposure range for a healthcare worker.

"For these and other reasons, wearing of appropriate personal protection equipment is vitally important for health care workers caring for patients who may be infected, even if they are farther than six feet away from a patient."

On Monday, millions around the UK watched Mr Johnson's historical address where he ordered all non-essential business to close and banned travel unless it was for an essential job or reason.

Brits were also told they could only leave the house for exercise like a walk or a jog, to go work if they are a key worker and to buy essential items such as food or medicine.


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