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Aerosol Release by Healthy People during Speaking: Possible Contribution to the Transmission of SARS



Our research aimed to review the potential risk of infection by SARS-CoV-2. We used an excerpt of a data set generated in May 2020 for reviewing the SARS-CoV-2 prevention concept of orchestras, singers and actors. People were sampled for droplet release for one-hour activities using a Grimm spectrometer covering a spectrum of 1 to 32 µm diameter. We estimated the number of “quanta” in the exhaled liquid from viral concentrations of 106 to 1011/mL, based on the Human Infective Dose 50 of 218 viral particles. We employed the Wells–Riley equation to estimate the risk of infection in typical meeting rooms for a one-hour meeting of 2, 4 and 6 people observing a 2 m distance. The four participating adults released a mean of 1.28 nLm3 while breathing, 1.68 nL/m3 while speaking normally, and two adults released a mean of 4.44 nL/m3 while talking with a raised voice. The combination of 50% breathing, 45% talking normally and 5% speaking with a raised voice increased the risk of infection above 5% for a one-hour meeting of two people. The result is based on 6 quanta released, corresponding to an initial virus concentration of 1000/nL (109/mL) in the fluid of the upper respiratory tract. Our data confirm the importance of using facemasks in combination with other measures to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 at the workplace. View Full-Text

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