22 September 2020

A drop of golden SARSCoV2

The Back Page

It seems there is no innocent pleasure COVID-19 can’t ruin.

The Medical Republic has regretfully disbanded its glee club, cancelled its Wednesday night a capella meets and restricted office renditions of Happy Birthday to humming, after watching this video showing how singing can spread SARS-CoV-2.

Posted by a UNSW team led by Kirby Institute biosecurity head Professor Raina MacIntyre, it shows in painful slow-mo a man singing a scale and the rain of droplets/aerosols it produces, with “do”, “fa” and “ti” the spittiest of them all.

Maria did not warn us about this.

In one notorious incident in the US, 61 people went to choir practice with one infected person, 53 of them got sick and two died.

Professor MacIntyre et al. write that while infection control guidelines “assume respiratory droplets settle rapidly within one to two metres … most droplets we observed appeared not to settle rapidly, and tended to follow the ambient airflow.

“Therefore, without adequate ventilation, these droplets may persist in aerosol clouds.”

It makes the Back Page wonder whether, even after all this is over, the thought of swapping all that aerosolised bodily fluid with your fellow human will ever truly regain its lustre.

If you see something stupid, say something stupid … hum your tips to [email protected].

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