Friday, December 04, 2020

Japan supercomputer: Saliva contact drops 75% with diagonal seating

Oct 15. 2020
An image from video simulating how saliva is spread shows the relatively small amount of saliva that is scattered to the person sitting diagonally from the speaker at a table for four. (Courtesy of Riken, Toyohashi University of Technology and Kobe University)
An image from video simulating how saliva is spread shows the relatively small amount of saliva that is scattered to the person sitting diagonally from the speaker at a table for four. (Courtesy of Riken, Toyohashi University of Technology and Kobe University)
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By The Japan News/ANN

A team of researchers studying measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus used Fugaku, the world’s fastest supercomputer, to predict how saliva droplets scatter during conversations at eateries. It was found that the person sitting diagonally from the speaker had the least amount of saliva scattered on them, compared to other positions at a table for four.

The team of researchers at Riken, Kobe University and other entities announced on Tuesday they conducted a simulation in which four people had a conversation for about one minute without wearing masks and calculated the amount of saliva found on the face of each person.

If the amount of saliva found on the person sitting directly in front of the speaker was designated as 1, the amount on the person sitting next to the speaker, who would turn to face them when speaking, was five times larger. However, the amount on the person sitting diagonally from the speaker was only a quarter of the amount.

The team also examined how humidity affects saliva droplets at offices.

When a person coughed without a mask, droplets became smaller when the humidity was 30%, and large quantities reached the opposite side of the desk. But the volume of saliva droplets decreased by about half when the humidity was at 60%.

The team said it is effective to use partitions, while ventilating, to prevent the spread of the virus.

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