University of Minnesota study shows how COVID-19 spreads indoors


A numerical simulation shows aerosol transport and deposition in a small classroom with an asymptomatic instructor and a roof ventilation system located in the rear (top) and front (bottom) of the classroom. (Soo Yang, University of Minnesota)

A new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering shows how coronoviruses go indoors.

The research team created a model of transmission of COVID-19 via aerosol, which is expelled from the mouth when people talk and breathe. The team flowed in three different settings: classrooms, elevators and supermarkets.

For example, in the classroom setting, researchers studied an asymptomatic-infected individual teaching for 50 minutes in front of the room. They found that only 10 percent of the virus particles were filtered with good ventilation, but they figured out where the air vent was placed. When the teacher spoke directly under it, the aerosol did not spread that much.

Researchers say this may help classrooms and businesses organize fewer “hot spots” or in areas where aerosols converge.

Assistant Professor Soo Yang, one of the researchers of the study, said, “After our work is gone, I think more people will be asking for help because I think many businesses will need to reopen – movie theater, drama. Theater, any place with large gatherings. ” In a press release. “If you do a good job, if you have good ventilation in the right place, and if you properly disperse the seating of the audience, it can be much safer.”

Researchers are also working with the Minnesota Orchestra to see how aerosols travel when instruments are played onstage and are expected to complete the study in August.

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