If someone is infected with the corona virus, then they probably have not adhered to the corona rules, right? That does not always have to be the case, says a spokesperson for the National Institute for Public Health in the Environment (RIVM) in conversation with NU.nl.
Wash your hands, keep a distance of 1.5 meters, wear a mouth mask, limit your travel movements and stay at home if you have symptoms. With those guidelines from the government, the spread of the corona virus must be stopped.
When a famous person tests positive, such as D66 leader Rob Jetten last Tuesday, several NU.nl readers responded that they probably did not comply with the rules. The Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said of his own infection earlier this month that he must have had “a moment of carelessness”.
But even if you stick to the rules, the chance of getting infected is “never zero”, says RIVM spokesman Harald Wychel. “By adhering to all measures, you help prevent the spread in its entirety, but of course you can never rule out getting infected unless you stay inside alone and never see anyone again.”
However, you can reduce the risk by adhering to the measures, says Wychel. “You were able to see that in the spring, when we followed the rules en masse. You saw the reproduction rate drop, as did the number of people who were contagious and the infections themselves.”
Floating drops go further than 1.5 meters
However, the 1.5 meter distance is not waterproof. It is now known that the corona virus can also spread via aerosols, small droplets that float in the air. These can be released when singing, talking or breathing and go further than 1.5 meters.
The chance that you will become contaminated through aerosols appears to be small, he said research by Canadian scientists and virologist Marion Koopmans of Erasmus MC. On the other hand, a cough or a sneeze sometimes emits as many virus particles as singing for a week, the same study showed, which has yet to be checked by fellow scientists.
Mouth mask may be effective against aerosols
Also a mouth mask does not offer 100 percent protection. Various to research point out that non-medical mouth masks ensure that you yourself are less likely to infect another person. From an in Nature Published research shows that both masks with and masks without a filter can reduce the spread of aerosols by up to 90 percent. However, RIVM will stick to the point of view that wearing non-medical face masks is of little use if people keep their distance from each other.
There also seems to be more and more proof that wearing a face mask is not only an act of solidarity, but also protects the wearer themselves, say researchers at the University of California. They believe that non-medical face masks stop some of the virus particles. This can prevent contamination or ensure that the course of the disease is less severe.
Get infected through a shopping cart
Finally, getting infected via a door handle or shopping cart with the virus on from a previous user seems unlikely. According to the RIVM, the chance that the virus will spread via surfaces is small.
It has been shown in a laboratory that it is possible. Japanese researchers recently showed that the virus can be kept alive on human skin for nine hours. But these ideal circumstances rarely occur in the outside world, according to the RIVM on the website.
Nevertheless, it is important to minimize the chance and to wash your hands regularly and to touch your face as little as possible. “Every little bit helps,” said Wychel.
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