By now, we all know the drill. Wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, wash hand frequently. But with the holidays in full force, it would be nice to know exactly the science of it all to see how likely it is to catch the Coronavirus.
Now, new research is showing you how long it would take to catch Covid if you were in a room with an infected person. Also, how quickly it happens depends on how well safety guidelines are being followed. Because let’s face it, we could be doing better.
A couple of scientists from MIT have developed a website based on mathematical models of transmission, allowing users to see the risks posed to them by selecting very specific conditions in any given situation, such as room size, if masks (and what type) are being worn, ventilation, humidity levels, and crowd size.
Using that information, A 10-person dinner in a standard room where no one is wearing masks is only safe for 18 minutes. Wearing a mask and opening a window buys you nearly 10 minutes of safe time.
Making small adjustments in the dining scenario also greatly affects the results. If you and all the guests wear masks made of coarse cloth instead of eating, for example, the amount of safe time jumps up by two minutes. And by simply opening a window and increasing ventilation, you’re safe for an additional six minutes.
A more heavy duty mask can make gathering safe for two hours. If you swap cloth masks for surgical grade ones, that means the amount of safe time you could spend in a room with someone with COVID skyrockets to a full two hours. Pulling your mask down briefly makes things much riskier.
When accounting for people in the room pulling their face covering below their nose or wearing a mask that doesn’t fit properly, the amount of safe time again dropped down to just 32 minutes. Even these small changes amounted to major swings in how safe a scenario can be.
So no matter how many calculations and variations are created, it will still be hard to specifically know how much danger you are putting yourself in, in a public setting. Be safe and smart out there.