/ 2m distance

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WaterMonkey 22 Mar 2020

I’m not convinced by this 2m social distance advice and was wondering what the Ukc team thought.

if you’re driving your car and the car infront’s driver is vaping, as he blows out a plume of vapour you can smell it almost immediately in your car. That’s more than 2m distance and you are breathing in droplets of their breath.

The only reason you notice it is because it smells of strawberry cheesecake or something.

So could you theoretically catch the virus by breathing in the breath from the car in front? Or is there some science I’m missing here?

5
Blue Straggler 22 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

Can you drive 11m behind ? 

Tom Last 22 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

That’s steam though, rather than droplets of water surely?

12
wintertree 22 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

A lot will depend on the relative size of the gaseous flavour molecules from the vape and the plague infested water droplets from the cough.  The later should be less diffusively mobile.

3 weeks ago I started driving on “recirculate”.  It may be paranoia but it’s better to err on the side of caution.  Wish I had a Tesla with “Bioweapon Defence Mode”.  Other paranoid traits have included using nitrile gloves for the doors when packing my office up for home working and when using a diesel pump and chip and pin machine, and stripping my outer clothes off outside when I get home and putting them directly into a 60oC wash.  

Edit: a shame your OP is collecting dislikes; I think it’s a really good question.  There’s a reason NBC gear has bloody big HEPA filters in the air intakes.  I’ve got no idea on the dispersion (range of sizes) of droplets from a cough or a vape.  I’m also assuming that the flavour molecules (the smell) in a vape aren’t confined to the droplets but move freely in the air.

Post edited at 22:24
wintertree 22 Mar 2020
In reply to Tom Last:

> That’s steam though, rather than droplets of water surely?

Steam is gaseous H20 and is invisible.  The stuff you see from steam trains, cooling towers, vapes and kettles is lots of droplets of water.   In every case I believe the droplets are formed by condensing steam.  Clouds are made of the same thing.

WaterMonkey 22 Mar 2020
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> Can you drive 11m behind ? 

How does that answer my questions?

ena sharples 22 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

Was a phone in on Radio 5 live on Saturday with a doctor who sounded like he knew what he was on about. He seemed to think the 2 m rule was sound.

WaterMonkey 22 Mar 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Thanks for the reply, I was kind of hoping there was some science behind why you can smell it. 
At the end of the day though each of those molecules has been in the lungs or at least mouth of the driver in front. Could the virus attach itself to one of those molecules?

Yeah I’m perplexed by the dislikes. It’s pretty sad when all I did was ask a question but then again I’ve lost my faith in humanity a little bit lately.

Bob Kemp 22 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

My understanding is that the 2m social distancing gap is intended to work at whole-population level, not individual level. It helps reduce the transmission rate over the whole population. Its purpose is to slow down the rate of infection in the population as a whole rather than to guarantee individuals aren't infected. 

Having said that, it's hard to find any evidence of the rationale behind the choice of a 2m gap. Has anyone seen anything?

Post edited at 22:32
wintertree 22 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

> At the end of the day though each of those molecules has been in the lungs or at least mouth of the driver in front.

Gross isn’t it?  Then you realise that’s always the case; you just only notice it with someone vaping crap not mean for the lungs.  Beer is likely all dinosaur piss.

> Could the virus attach itself to one of those molecules?

Coronaviruses are massive compared to flavour molecules so no.  No idea if a flavonoid can attach to a coronavirus.  If any experts are on here I’d love to know if a coronavirus can attach to a water droplet from a vape - they get in to water droplets from coughs so it seems a reasonable possibility.

wintertree 22 Mar 2020
In reply to ena sharples:

> He seemed to think the 2 m rule was sound.

I’ve (unfortunately) known a couple of people who sprayed spittle further than that when talking.  It’s like someone who built a nuclear fusion reactor in their basement said - there’s no protection quite like the inverse square law.

1
Tom Last 22 Mar 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Ah right, cheers.

Darron 22 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

It’s the government trying to get a message over to 66million people. Technical detail is not going to enter the equation. Something simple and ‘doable’ is the only way. Even that seems a problem. No doubt the people crowding together in parks and beaches will criticise the government in, about, two weeks time when their Granny has just been denied access to a ventilator that could have saved her life that they should have been warned earlier.

Post edited at 23:17
Blue Straggler 23 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

> How does that answer my questions?

It doesn’t and it wasn’t intended to; that was rather the point of responding with a question. Did it make you think about the 2 metre advice ?

3
wilkie14c 23 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

Isn’t that rather like saying that when you smell a fart you have molecules of that persons sh*t inside your nose?

Living together as we do, we are always going to share our dna with each other. How many dead skin cells you reckon you breath in each day? 

Anyway, if you are in your car I hope you are a key worker going to/from work or going to get vital supplies from shops. Best keep your windows closed and have the heat controls set to re-circulate to avert your fears.

I am aghast at the general populations lack of understanding that the control measures in place are to slow down infection so as not to overwhelm the NHS (and then put our vulnerable population at risk) It’s amazing how many people think it’s all about prevention, it isn’t, it can’t be prevented, it’s containment and controlled spread.

2
tom_in_edinburgh 23 Mar 2020
In reply to wilkie14c:

> I am aghast at the general populations lack of understanding that the control measures in place are to slow down infection so as not to overwhelm the NHS (and then put our vulnerable population at risk) It’s amazing how many people think it’s all about prevention, it isn’t, it can’t be prevented, it’s containment and controlled spread.

Well yeah, but the Chinese haven't had a case in Wuhan or Hubei province for several days.  The Chinese seem to think they can shut it down by applying the same techniques as worked in Wuhan.  Why would we decide in advance that they are wrong?

summo 23 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

From my understanding a virus particle is so small it doesn't just drop to the ground through gravity the minute it leaves your mouth, it can waft through the air much like pollen does for far greater distances.

2m is better than 1m, but it does not remove the risk, only reduce. Which might also explain why Italy has banned even lone walking and exercising in Lombardy, as current measures are not reducing new cases. 

Geoff82 23 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey: It is a valid question. Our family have discussed this as we have a vulnerable Father who lives with my Mother who is on the NHS front line. 

We have taken the non science based view that the 2m advice is just advisory in order to slow the spread but wont protect someone living in close proximity to an infected person. As a result we have rearranged the house to seal my Father off in his own part of the house. He is not coming out of there and no one else is going into his area. 
 

This is the only way we could think to give him the best chance of not contracting it if my Mother gets it, aside from separating temporarily which is not a viable option. He’ll almost certainly die if he gets it, the odds will be heavily against him. 

Post edited at 06:47
Ciro 23 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

If 2m was a safe distance, we wouldn't need to tell people with symptoms to self isolate - we would just tell them to maintain social distance.

As others have said, 2m is just meant to reduce the chances of catching it a bit.

ClimberEd 23 Mar 2020
In reply to Geoff82:

> It is a valid question. Our family have discussed this as we have a vulnerable Father who lives with my Mother who is on the NHS front line. 

> We have taken the non science based view that the 2m advice is just advisory in order to slow the spread but wont protect someone living in close proximity to an infected person. As a result we have rearranged the house to seal my Father off in his own part of the house. He is not coming out of there and no one else is going into his area. 

There is different more detailed advice for living in a property with a vulnerable person and/or someone infected. You'll want to check but it's about using kitchens/bathrooms, ventilating rooms,  sleeping separately, etc. 

Neil Williams 23 Mar 2020
In reply to Ciro:

Which is actually what we want.  If we stop it near completely it won't die out, it'll just come back once restrictions are eased (because we won't stop it completely, because even in the event of full lockdown key workers are still moving around).  What we want to do is control it so that the NHS isn't overwhelmed at the peak.  "Flattening the curve" is the term that has been used.

Post edited at 08:34
David Riley 23 Mar 2020
In reply to summo:

> it can waft through the air much like pollen does for far greater distances.

If that is a danger then it will be vanishingly less risky outside than in an enclosed supermarket.

Indeed, staying in your house would be no protection if you could be infected at a distance.

summo 23 Mar 2020
In reply to David Riley:

I don't know. But it's still spreading in quite locked down countries. 

David Riley 23 Mar 2020
In reply to summo:

I'm guessing most transmission is by touching surfaces.  Many people don't get that.  Signing for deliveries, the outside of food wrapping.

David Riley 23 Mar 2020

I once proposed a product.  Foam rubber covers for the handles of toilet cubicles. The rubber would be impregnated with disinfectant and red dye.  If you used the toilet you would have red hands and would have to wash it off.  It would never sell of course, since there would be red marks all over the premises in no time.  We live in a completely contaminated environment.

summo 23 Mar 2020
In reply to David Riley:

> I'm guessing most transmission is by touching surfaces.  Many people don't get that.  Signing for deliveries, the outside of food wrapping.

Or car park pay and display machines right across the country yesterday! 

David Riley 23 Mar 2020

Them too.  Defence for parking fines in the pass.

Post edited at 09:54
Climbing Pieman 23 Mar 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

The 2m question was asked on BBC news his morning - it’s on BBC iPlayer now at 0940.

I’ll not try an summarise the Dr’s words in case I picked it up wrong.

jkarran 23 Mar 2020
In reply to Tom Last:

> That’s steam though, rather than droplets of water surely?

'Vape' is droplets of water, it marks where a person's breath is visually (and to our olfactory system). How much virus ther is in a normal breath as opposed to a cough that loosens and ejects liquid, I have no idea. Some would be a safe assumption.

I presume the 2m is pretty arbitrary and reasonable advice based on responsible informed people and the current low (outside London maybe) probability of the person you're with being infectious.

It's probably mostly to put you out of the blast radius of spittle from speech.

jk

Richard Horn 23 Mar 2020
In reply to summo:

> I don't know. But it's still spreading in quite locked down countries. 

A lot of people in the lockdown countries are fed up and increasingly ignoring the lockdowns - sneaking round to friends houses after dark etc. They are also going to places like supermarkets which will be transmission hotspots. There is a big difference between a lockdown in say China where people are genuinely scared of their governments, compared to Western countries where people are encouraged from birth to have a cynical view of their governments abilities to organise a piss up in brewery.

jkarran 23 Mar 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Well yeah, but the Chinese haven't had a case in Wuhan or Hubei province for several days.  The Chinese seem to think they can shut it down by applying the same techniques as worked in Wuhan.  Why would we decide in advance that they are wrong?

They're not wrong, they're where we could be late summer with great leadership and different policies but we don't have that at the moment.

jk

Ciro 23 Mar 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Which is actually what we want.  If we stop it near completely it won't die out, it'll just come back once restrictions are eased (because we won't stop it completely, because even in the event of full lockdown key workers are still moving around).  What we want to do is control it so that the NHS isn't overwhelmed at the peak.  "Flattening the curve" is the term that has been used.

We're later in starting isolating measures than Italy, applying less stringent measures, and have half as many ITU beds per head of population.

The chances of not overwhelming the NHS by staying 2m apart seem somewhat South of winning the lottery the weeks in a row to me...

wercat 23 Mar 2020
In reply to David Riley:

> I'm guessing most transmission is by touching surfaces.  Many people don't get that.  Signing for deliveries, the outside of food wrapping.


and money has surfaces

wercat 23 Mar 2020
In reply to summo:

I went out for a walk today and saw signs of mass gatherings (Cumbria) over the weekends.  The local radio has been going mad about it.

  I used a walking pole and sometimes my sleeve to open the catches on gates!  Now already in the wash.

Post edited at 16:27
fred99 24 Mar 2020
In reply to wercat:

> and money has surfaces


Had to go into Halfords on my way home last night - they were going to refuse money today, cards only !

Assuming they're open - I hope there's somewhere for people to get replacement bulbs and so forth.

Dave Garnett 24 Mar 2020
In reply to wercat:

> and money has surfaces

Maybe we should reintroduce leaving coins in bowls of vinegar as last used during the Great Plague.

wercat 24 Mar 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Is vinegar effective?  I'm sure it would get rid of some of the everyday nasties.  Would be marvellous if it was good as you could smell whether someone had washed their hands in it.


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