March 31, 2020 | 10:34pm | Updated April 1, 2020 | 7:45am
The nation’s top infectious disease expert said recently published research that suggests the coronavirus can travel 27 feet and linger airborne for hours is “terribly misleading.”
“I’m sorry, but I was disturbed by that report because that’s misleading,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House task force, said Tuesday of jarring headlines stemming from
MIT associate professor Lydia Bourouiba’s research.
Bourouiba, whose research on the dynamics of coughs and sneezes was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, warns that current social-distancing guidelines to stay 6 feet apart are inadequate and outdated.
The scientist writes that “pathogen-bearing droplets of all sizes can travel 23 to 27 feet.”
But Fauci noted during a Tuesday White House press briefing that it would take a “very, very robust, vigorous, achoo sneeze,” for droplets to even come close to traveling such a distance.
The esteemed doctor even feigned a forceful sneeze on stage as an example of what it would take to propel the droplets that far.
“So if you go way back and go, achoo,” said Fauci as he leaned back then thrust forward, “and go like that, you might get 27 feet.”
He added: “That’s not practical. That is not practical.”
Bourouiba fears that the current guidelines are “overly simplified” and “may limit the effectiveness of the proposed interventions” against the deadly pandemic.