Covid-19 may spread via speech: Study
Microdroplets generated by speech can remain suspended in the air in an enclosed space for more than 10 minutes, a study published on Wednesday showed, underscoring their likely role in spreading Covid-19.
Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) had a person loudly repeat the phrase “stay healthy” for 25 seconds inside a closed box.
A laser projected into the box illuminated droplets, allowing them to be seen and counted. They stayed in the air for an average of 12 minutes, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US (PNAS) showed.
Taking into account the known concentration of coronavirus in saliva, scientists estimated that each minute of loudly speaking can generate more than 1,000 virus-containing droplets capable of remaining airborne for eight minutes or more in a closed space.
“This direct visualisation demonstrates how normal speech generates airborne droplets that can remain suspended for tens of minutes or longer and are eminently capable of transmitting disease in confined spaces,” the researchers conclude.
A flu outbreak in southern China has led to a shortage of medicines with doctors warning of dual health risks from influenza and sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks, a state media report said on Monday. Weakened herd immunity caused by continuous Covid-19 prevention measures,including lockdowns, may be partly to blame for the abnormal spike in influenza cases at this time of the year, experts said, according to a report in the Global Times.
Two new countries - Iran and Argentina - have applied to join the increasingly influential BRICS - Brazi, Russia, India, China and South Africa - grouping, an Iranian official said Monday, according to news agency Reuters. The official said Iran's inclusion in BRICS would result in 'added values for both sides'. Argentina president Alberto Fernandez wrote on Telegram '... Argentina and Iran applied to join the BRICS'.
China on Tuesday reduced the length of mandatory quarantine for inbound travellers, in the biggest relaxation of entry restrictions after sticking to a rigid zero Covid policy throughout the pandemic. Read: Indian Navy has questions on China's new aircraft carrier Fujian Since then overseas arrivals have faced weeks of strict monitoring and costly quarantine in hotels and designated centres.
Two top OPEC oil producers, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, can barely increase oil production, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he had been told by the UAE's president. Read: France holds parliamentary election in vital test for Macron "And then he said (the) Saudis can increase by 150 (thousands barrels per day). Maybe a little bit more, but they don't have huge capacities before six months' time," Macron said.
At least 40 people have been found dead inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, news agencies reported citing law enforcement official briefed on the matter. San Antonio's KSAT television reported 42 people dead inside the truck, in a presumed migrant smuggling attempt in South Texas. San Antonio police is yet to make an official statement on the incident. Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet that the victims' nationalities were still unknown.