Since the coronavirus outbreak, it's been recommended that while social distancing everyone remain at least six feet apart. However, that suggestion is seemingly changing after reports coming out stating that germs can spread up to 26 feet depending on how they're spread. For instance, studies are showing that sneezing will spread germs much farther than six feet.
Scientists in the United States recorded a clip of a healthy person doing a violent exhalation, and in the slow-motion video, it shows that droplets that were expelled from the person through coughs and sneezes can travel in a warm, moist atmosphere at a speed between 33-100 feet per second. Something to strongly consider is those who are in a warmer atmosphere that allows the droplets to travel by air for a much longer period of time. "Although such social distancing strategies are critical in the current time of the pandemic, it may seem surprising that the current understanding of the routes of host-to-host transmission in respiratory infectious diseases are predicted on a model of disease transmission developed in the 1930s that, by modern standards, seems overly simplified," Professor Bourouiba of the Journal of the American Medical Association (click for video) explained that our social distancing standards are based on outdated models.
"Implementing public health recommendations based on these older models may limit the effectiveness of the proposed interventions," she continued. "These distances are based on estimates of range that have not considered the possible presence of a high-momentum cloud carrying the droplets long distance." Eventually the "turbulent gas cloud" will lose momentum and what's left of the droplets will evaporate. However, it all depends on the size and speed of the liquid, on top of the temperature in which the area it was transmitted in. If it's warm outside, it can last in the air for several minutes, versus a few seconds. But, "droplet nuclei" is something else to consider as well, because that could stay trapped in the air for several hours with no travel restrictions.
"Given the turbulent puff cloud dynamic model, recommendations for separations of three feet to six feet 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," she said. She went on to stress the importance of wearing protective gear, especially for health care workers who are working around sick patients who may have COVID-19.