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New research shows how coronavirus spreads indoors | Connect the Dots

A COVID-19 patient was reportedly infected from 20 feet away in only five minutes.

New research from South Korea shows just how easily coronavirus can spread indoors and the results are an important warning. Let’s connect the dots.

Infected from 20 feet for 5 minutes

This research comes out of South Korea, a country that has instituted strong contact tracing using cell phone and credit card data. 

When a case popped up in a region that had not had a coronavirus case in two months researchers got to work. What they found is the girl was infected at a restaurant. 

She was exposed to an infected traveler from 20 feet away for five minutes. That’s concerning because up until now the guidance has been to stay six feet apart and limit exposure to 15 minutes.

Air conditioning can propel virus

So how did it spread that far? According to the research published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science, researchers went back to the security footage from the restaurant. They found the girl never spoke to the infected traveler and didn’t touch any of the same surfaces. However, they could tell the air conditioner was blowing from a swaying light fixture.

The team then recreated the conditions in the restaurant, measuring the air flow. They found that diners with their back to the airflow were not infected while those facing it were, even at those long distances. 

Another reminder that this is a new virus and we are still learning just how dangerous it is.