It's widely known that COVID-19 is contagious and can be transmitted through droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking in close proximity to others.
A new experiment that uses lasers of light shows just how far spit can travel in the air when talking. The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, are shown on a video that highlights the difference in the amount of droplets that are generated by someone who isn't wearing a mask and someone who is.
"Even just quieter talking or breathing can generate tinier aerosol droplets - all of these are capable of carrying a virus. What we do not know is exactly what proportion of the virus rides out and infects others from what size droplets. All are capable," said Dr. Harvey Fineberg, who chairs the Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The scattered light illuminates the droplets of fluid as they scatter into the air.
The particles vary in size - while the larger ones fall quickly to the ground, the smaller ones linger in the air for much longer.