Tokyo: A Japanese supercomputer has showed that humidity can have a large effect on the dispersion of virus particles. The supercomputer has pointed to heightened coronavirus contagion risks in dry, indoor conditions during the winter months. The finding suggests that the use of humidifiers may help limit infections during times when window ventilation is not possible. This information has been shared by a study released Tuesday by research giant Riken and Kobe University.
The researchers used the Fugaku supercomputer to model the emission and flow of virus-like particles from infected people. This was done in a variety of indoor environments.
Air humidity of lower than 30 per cent resulted in more than double the amount of aerosolised particles compared to levels of 60 per cents or higher, the simulations showed.
The study also indicated that clear face shields are not as effective as masks in preventing the spread of aerosols. Other findings showed that diners are more at risk from people to their side compared to across the table. The study also said that the singers in choruses should be limited and spaced out.
There has been a growing consensus among health experts that the COVID-19 virus can be spread through the air. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its guidance this month. In its revised note the CDC said pathogen can linger in the air for hours.
The Riken research team is led by Makoto Tsubokura. It has previously used the Fugaku supercomputer to model contagion conditions in trains, work spaces, and class rooms.
The simulations showed that opening windows on commuter trains can increase the ventilation by two to three times. This helps in lowering the concentration of ambient microbes. “People’s blind fear or unfounded confidence against the infection of COVID-19 is simply because it is invisible,” Tsubokura said.