COVID-19 Diary – Day 197

A new study out of the University of Nicosia in Cyprus is turning a few heads with its analysis of theoretical evaporation effects on the spread of COVID-19 carrying respiratory droplets and aerosols. Please keep in mind that this is not a practical study, and all of the results are based on complex simulations, although the study has been reviewed and approved by the American Institute of Physics.

This image shows the simulated effects of temperature (0-40C) and relative humidity (10-30%) on the respiratory droplets from a mild cough, over a period of seconds. Wind is simulated at 4km/h
This image shows the simulated effects of temperature (0-40C) and relative humidity (50-90%) on the respiratory droplets from a mild cough, over a period of seconds. Wind is simulated at 4km/h

As you can see from the above-simulated data, high heat and low humidity both cause respiratory droplets to evaporate much quicker than colder temperatures or higher humidity levels. These results, in part, run counter to the previously held belief that COVID-19 is likely to thrive in cold and dry climates.

BC’s relative humidity by month, calculated averages based on the past 20 years of data collected by 22 weather stations across the province.

For those of us living in British Columbia, this is not ideal news. Our province is well known for its high relative humidity and generally lower temperatures.

Above you can find a collection of the study’s results, compared directly against each other for easier viewing.

This study gives us a lot of information, but there is also crucial data that it isn’t telling us. This study does not tell us how long the virus can survive outside a body within respiratory droplets. This study also does not tell us the average viral load contained in a mild cough, or the average viral load needed to successfully infect an individual. So while there is some cause for caution with the data provided, we mustn’t attempt to assume more data than is there.

In other news, Quebec based Vidéotron is releasing a new wristband product to help businesses keep employees from getting too close to each other during the pandemic. The wristband is called Radius and uses Bluetooth technology along with vibration and light to alert employees if they may be getting dangerously close to another. There is also an online portal that can be used in the case of an employee testing positive for COVID-19, which can then be used to alert any other employees that may have come into contact with that person.

Speaking of alerting people about possible COVID-19 exposures, Dr. Bonnie Henry recently confirmed that the Canadian COVID Alert app will be coming to BC. The time table for it still isn’t completely clear, but BC is specifically on the list of places it will be activated in… we just aren’t next on the list yet.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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