New footage released this week shows how the likes of COVID-19 may be spread through minuscule droplets that are invisible to the naked eye. Using laser beams and high-sensitivity cameras, scientists in Japan were able to capture the droplets — measuring around 1/10,000 of a millimeter — that help viruses jump from human to human.
There’s much debate in regards to the transmission of the coronavirus specifically, but the footage here shows how other viruses tend to spread. At present, there is no confirmation that this form of transmission applies to COVID-19.
As well as the obvious forms of transmission such as sneezing, it’s possible that these tiny droplets can be spread from person to person through simply engaging in a conversation while standing together in close proximity.
The footage illustrates the microdroplets as white dots, showing how they linger in the air and can be passed between people in a confined area.
Co-author of the New England Journal of Medicine study, Dylan Morris, told Live Science:
We still don’t know how high a concentration of viable SARS-CoV-2 is needed in practice to infect a human being, though this is something we are looking to model in the future.
Japan’s NHK broadcasting organization collaborated with Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases in order to produce the video, which you can see above.