quiet is one of the best COVID-19 defenses

Learn from the Japanese: quiet is one of the best COVID-19 defenses


You have heard, maybe more than you want, about masks, distancing, alcohol gel, being outside more, but have you heard about the value of being quiet?  No one is suggesting that people be totally silent, but if you understand better how speaking spreads COVID-19, you might seek out safer quieter locations and conversations.

How COVID spreads in the air

You can become infected by COVID by touching contaminated surfaces, but the main route of infection is via the air. A person infected with COVID—even without symptoms—may be expelling virus particles, and most come from their mouth.  If the infected person keeps their mouth closed, and is breathing quietly, they might not be spreading a high concentration of virus. But if they sing, or yell, they may be spewing out lots of virus particles that could land in your nose, mouth, or eyes, and infect you. 

Even the act of speaking pushes out more virus. According to Jose L. Jimenez, a disease transmission specialist and professor at the University of Colorado (Boulder, USA),  “Every route of viral transmission would go down if we talked less, or talked less loudly, in public spaces. The truth is that if everybody stopped talking for a month or two, the pandemic would probably die off.”

Jimenez estimates that, compared with a COVID-infected person who is breathing quietly and not talking, if that person starts talks quietly, they emit 5 times more virus particles. If they start talking loudly or yelling, they emit 50 times more virus particles! You don’t want to be close to such a person, even if you are wearing a mask (since masks are not perfect barriers). 

Japanese subway experience

Japan has had much fewer COVID deaths than most other developed countries. For example, adjusted for population, Japan has 98% fewer deaths from COVID than the United States. Even after subway traffic returned to normal in Tokyo, there was no new outbreaks attributed to their subway, even though Tokyo subways are notoriously crowded. Some of that good news is due to generous ventilation on their subways and the fact that in Japan, people are used to wearing masks in public. But part of the reason is that it is an informal rule that people don’t talk in the Tokyo subways, or if they do, they talk quietly.

Think library voice

Some experts have suggested that in public spaces, when people need to talk, to use a quiet voice that would be appropriate for a library. Whatever you do, please avoid people and situations around people talking loudly. Wear a mask, keep your distance (more than 2 meters), and the best approach is just to leave the area, especially if you are inside.

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website: www.Procuramed.com.

See also in ProcuraMed:

False positive and false negative COVID tests: what do they mean?

Getting back to exercise after a COVID infection

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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