Scientists suggest that the viral load in the air can reach “critical concentrations” in closed and poorly ventilated environments, especially when an infected “supercontainer” is present at the site. However, strict use of masks can prevent the spread of the coronavirus in these cases, according to a new study published in the JAMA Network Open magazine.
Most people infected with a typical covid-19 viral load do not flood the air with respiratory droplets infected with coronavirus, and therefore the risk of spreading the virus tends to be low.
However, a ‘supercontainer’, especially when coughing frequently, can clog a poorly ventilated room with up to 7.4 million copies of the coronavirus for every cubic meter of air, estimates the study, which is based on a mathematical model.
“The implication of these findings for everyday life and the workplace is that people may be at risk for infection if they spend more than a few minutes in a small room with a covid-19 infected individual who has a high viral load.” Scientists pointed out.
At the same time, the researchers stressed that ‘supercontagators’ are not very common among the population and “only a few people with very high viral loads are at risk of infection” in closed and poorly ventilated settings. But if ‘superchargers’ are engaged in activities like talking loudly or singing, their viral emissions can increase significantly.
Because of this, “strict respiratory protection is recommended whenever there is the possibility of being in the same room with this person”, particularly if he is coughing and especially when one is going to be in the same space for a long period.
In addition, workplaces should not be shared until there are rapid tests to differentiate between individuals without covid-19 and asymptomatic infections, the specialists concluded.