6-foot rule may not protect you from COVID indoors as well as previously thought, study says

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A 3-D rendering of the coronavirus (Getty Images).

(NEXSTAR) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established a “6-foot rule” for social distancing from others amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the interval may not suffice to protect you from COVID while indoors, a new study has found.

“Compliance to the Six-Foot Rule will … substantially reduce the risk of … large-drop transmission,” the study, published this week in the journal PNAS, says.

“However, the liquid drops expelled by respiratory events are known to span a considerable range of scales, with radii varying from fractions of a micron to millimeters.”

The researchers say there is “overwhelming evidence” that indoor airborne transmission associated with “micron-scale” aerosol droplets plays a “dominant role in the spread of COVID-19,” especially so-called superspreader events.

They say, depending on the ventilation and airflow in the space, keeping 6 feet of distance is no different than 60 feet.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated, experts recommend wearing masks while indoors, practicing social distancing, and washing hands.

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