On March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO). Effective prevention is indispensable for defeating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The evaporation and diffusion characteristics of the droplet in the air are the critical factors for the virus transmission by droplets. To better understand transmission routes of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets, a new evaporation and dispersion model for respiratory droplets is proposed to estimate droplet lifetime and the size of spreading zone in air. The importance of respiratory activities and environmental factors on the transmission of respiratory viruses are further discussed. The predictive results demonstrate initial particle size, ambient temperature and relative humidity all have significant effect on the survival time and infection distance of respiratory droplets. Decreasing droplet initial size always shortens the lifetime and the transmission distance of respiratory droplets. The 100 μm droplets expelled by talking or coughing can be carried more than 2 m away. Increasing ambient temperature and decreasing ambient humidity can effectively reduce the lifetime and propagation distance of respiratory droplets, thus reducing the risk of viral infection. These findings could contribute to developing effective prevention measures for controlling infectious disease transmission via droplets.

Fuente: International Journal of Multiphase Flow
Available online 19 November 2021, 103904