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Trees favor the spread of COVID-19 around the world

Based on these findings, the authors argue that the recommended social distance of 1.5 or 2 meters to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 may not always be sufficient. The recommendations could be improved by adjusting these measures according to local pollen levels, especially in areas populated with trees, they clarify.

The danger should not be overlooked since an average tree can release more than 40 grains of pollen for every 30 cubic centimeters (about 1,500 grains per cubic meter in air), the experts said, and each grain can carry hundreds of viral particles.

Simulation

Researchers used fluid dynamics models to create a computer simulation of how pollen moves through the air from a willow tree. Specifically, the team simulated how 10,000 pollen grains from this tree would interact with two outdoor gatherings about 20 meters apart, one of 10 people, the other of 100, and counting that some of the people would also throw particles of pollen into the environment. COVID-19.

“One of the major challenges is recreating a completely realistic environment of a mature willow tree”, the experts clarify. “This included thousands of tree leaves and pollen grain particles, hundreds of stems, and a realistic gathering of a crowd of about 100 individuals about 20 meters from the tree.”

The pollen passed through the crowd in less than a minute and even with the social distance of 2 meters, it was still not adequate to limit the risk of spreading the disease, considering an area with a high concentration of pollen in the air.

This study is the first to show a new method of infection through airborne virus transmission.

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