The risk of contracting the COVID-19 infection remains high regardless of whether one maintains a distance of 6 feet or 60 feet, according to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States said the two-meter rule was originally developed when the prevailing belief was that transmission of Covid-19 only occurs through heavier droplets projections from the mouth and nose during speech, coughing and sneezing, CTVnews.ca reported.

However, scientists are increasingly talking about the role of aerosols, smaller particles that persist longer in the air, in the transmission of Covid-19.

“The importance of airborne transmission of Covid-19 is now widely recognized,” said researchers, including Martin Z Bazant, of the university’s chemical engineering department.

The study, published in the journal PNAS, showed that the time it is safe to spend in an indoor space depends on a number of factors, such as face mask use, space size and the amount of ventilation, the report says.

“To minimize the risk of infection, one should avoid spending long periods of time in densely populated areas,” the researchers said.

“One is safer in rooms with large volumes and high ventilation rates. The first is more risky in rooms where people exercise in a way that increases their respiratory rate and production of pathogens,” for example by exercising, singing or shouting, ”they added.

The team developed a theoretical model based on airborne transmission that helps understand how long an uninfected person can be safe in an indoor location with an infected person.

They also examined how different respiratory activities, such as singing, speaking, and breathing, contributed to the overall amount of particles exhaled, and therefore the potential amount of pathogens expelled.

Overall, wearing a mask has proven to be the best way to limit both short-range and overall airborne transmission of COVID-19, followed by sufficient ventilation and filtration.

Researchers have also created an online tool that allows users to use their formula to determine for themselves the best way to avoid catching COVID-19 indoors.

(With IANS inputs)

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