How usually have you ever stood in a queue and caught the whiff of somebody smoking a number of metres away?
Now think about that is a cloud of the COVID virus that you simply’re inhaling.
That’s the priority of Dr Julian Tang, a virologist on the University of Leicester.
He says every exhaled breath of somebody with COVID signs can comprise 200 virus particles – and we have to rethink our strategy to social distancing.
Dr Tang says the outdated guidelines that introduced the epidemic again underneath management within the first wave might not be sufficient for the brand new, extra transmissible variant of the virus this time spherical.
The additional individuals keep aside, the decrease the chance of the virus spreading.
That’s significantly vital presently of yr.
Cold climate and the dearth of sterilising daylight means the virus survives exterior for longer.
Science says the chance of transmission open air is roughly 20 instances decrease than it’s inside.
Even a faint breeze helps to disperse most virus particles that cling within the air.
The threat is low, nevertheless it’s not zero.
Analysis of greater than 300 transmission occasions in China early on within the pandemic solely discovered one case of somebody being contaminated exterior.
So it does occur. And most likely extra usually than that research suggests.
Dr Tang recommends 3m (10ft) as the brand new protected distance.
And when that is not potential he recommends individuals put on a masks. Yes, even open air.
Not all scientists agree.
Some warn that when masks get moist, both from rain or from condensed moisture from the breath, they grow to be ineffective.
If persons are complacent about distancing, that might put them at larger threat.
But there are occasions once we do congregate open air – primarily in queues for supermarkets or, more and more over the approaching weeks, vaccination centres.
There appears to be a consensus that sporting a masks in these conditions could also be clever – and maybe the federal government ought to toughen up the foundations on social distancing.
With one individual in 50 carrying the virus nationally – and much more in London – one cannot be too cautious.