"Viruses by species are the most numerous of any biological entity on earth. A teaspoon of seawater contains about one million viruses." From Lumen Learning, Boundless Microbiology [i]
The most recent research suggests that our social distancing rules may be woefully inadequate. The COVID19 virus may be transmittable up to twenty-seven feet.
Viruses: Their Role in Nature
Despite how we feel about them, viruses generally perform a unique and critically important role in nature.
The effects of marine viruses are far-reaching; by increasing the amount of photosynthesis in the oceans, viruses are indirectly responsible for reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by approximately 3 gigatonnes of carbon per year. [ii]
Humans or other potential viral hosts are constantly exposed to viruses, yet most viral exposure has no effect. But.... the transformation of viruses from benign to pathogenic occurs via two processes more specific to viruses: antigenic drift and antigenic shift (antigenic drift being the more common)....For example, if a pig was infected with a human influenza virus and an avian influenza virus at the same time, an antigenic shift could occur, producing a new virus that had most of the genes from the human virus, but [additional genes] from the avian virus....The most recent 2009 H1N1 outbreak was a result of an antigenic shift and re-assortment between human, avian, and swine viruses. [iii]
Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has cast doubt on the six foot limit for social distancing. In a USA Today article entitled: "6 feet enough for social distancing?" reporter Jordan Culver wrote:
Lydia Bourouiba, an associate professor at MIT, has....found exhalations cause gaseous clouds that can travel up to 27 feet...
She said current guidelines are based on "large droplets" as the method of transmission for the virus and the idea that those large droplets can only go a certain distance...
The idea that droplets "hit a virtual wall and stop there and after that we are safe," is not based on evidence found in her research, Bourouiba said...
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