Scientists used highly sensitive laser light to determine that loud speech can emit thousands of droplets of oral fluid each second — fluid that may contain SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The researchers from Stanford University published their findings, concluding "that there is a substantial probability that normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments."
According to Ladders, the research showed that speaking loudly for even a minute can release 1,000 virus-laden droplets, which can remain suspended in the air for up to 8 minutes. Wearing a mask can mitigate the spread, but experts warn that people breathe out 10 times more virus if they shout or speak loudly.
The University of Missouri Health Care warns that cloth face coverings are not 100% effective, and may not protect you from inhaling the virus. Rather, they help you from spreading it.
A study published in March in the New England Journal of Medicine found that aside from the respiratory droplets, aerosolized coronavirus particles can live for up to three hours in the air. Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist and head of the Climate and Health Program at Columbia University in New York, told Live Science that the tiny aerosols, which are much smaller and lighter than respiratory droplets, "can remain aloft for a considerable amount of time."
Experts said that talking less and wearing a mask would be the fastest way to slow the transmission of the virus.
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