The COVID-19 virus can travel as far as 13 feet from patients, a new study found, which would make the U.S. government order for people to stay six feet away from each other essentially obsolete.
According to AFP, a team of researchers at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing examined surface and air samples at a hospital in Wuhan, China, the city where the virus first cropped up in November.
What they found was the virus could travel 13 feet from an infected patient. The samples were taken in a general ward housing patients with the virus and an intensive care unit.
The Trump administration has set social distancing guidelines that require people to stay six feet from others when they're out in public. State and local governments have followed.
The research team in Beijing also found another worrying sign: "Furthermore, half of the samples from the soles of the ICU medical staff shoes tested positive. Therefore, the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers."
High concentrations of the virus were found on the hospital floors and community surfaces such as computer mice, trashcans, bed rails, and door knobs, AFP reported.
The findings were published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Another recent study in Massachusetts, meanwhile, concluded COVID-19-infected droplets can travel up to 27 feet.
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