On March 14, 2020, Roxanne Khamsi published an article in Wired magazine: "They Say Coronavirus Isn't Airborne—but It's Definitely Borne By Air."
In today's episode, Dr. Celine Gounder speaks with Roxanne and Dr. Lydia Bourouiba, an Associate Professor at MIT who directs the Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory. They speak about the difference between airborne and droplet, and what that means for the safety of healthcare workers and the precautions that individuals should be taking. They also discuss the science behind the 6-feet social distancing guideline, which is based on models that predict how far droplets travel in air, and the flaws in these models that may vastly underestimate how far the virus can travel.
“I wanted to know what airborne meant. What does the word airborne actually mean when scientists and biologists talk about it? Because I detected that there was a debate underlying the debate. In other words, I felt that there were people debating whether it was airborne, but part of me felt that there wasn't even consensus about what the word airborne meant. And that that could be a huge problem in both scientists talking amongst themselves, but also about the public understanding of the transmission of this disease.” -Roxanne Khamsi
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