Disposable Helmet Retains Cough Droplets, Minimizes Transmission to Dentists, Otolaryngologists

Dentists and otolaryngologists are at particular risk of infection of COVID-19, since they need direct access to the mouth, nose, and throat of patients. The current solutions are expensive, not highly effective, and not very accessible. In Physics of Fluids, researchers discuss their design of an open-faced helmet for patient use that is connected to a medical-grade air filtration pump from the top that creates a reverse flow of air to prevent cough droplets from exiting the helmet.

Read more

SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Model Offers Decision-Making Pathways for Safe School Opening

Can schools safely remain open or reopen during periods of significant community spread of COVID-19? According to predictions from a model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the school setting, yes – if appropriate precautions are followed both in school and in the community.

Read more

Valves on N95 Masks Do Not Filter Exhaled Droplets

Matthew Staymates, fluid dynamicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is studying different mask types to determine which are the most effective at reducing disease transmission. In Physics of Fluids, he describes exploring the basic flow dynamics of N95 masks with or without exhalation valves. To do this, he generates stunning video from his schlieren imaging, a method to visualize the fluid flow away from the surface of an object, and light scattering.

Read more

Estimating Risk of Airborne COVID-19 with Mask Usage, Social Distancing

In Physics of Fluids, researchers used a model to understand airborne transmission that is designed to be accessible to a wide range of people, including nonscientists. Employing concepts of fluid dynamics and factors in airborne transmission, they propose the Contagion Airborne Transmission inequality model. While not all factors may be known, it can still be used to assess relative risks. The researchers determined protection from transmission increases with physical distancing in an approximately linear proportion.

Read more

Back to School?

Dr. Terry Adirim provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 and return to school for school-age children. Adirim is a physician executive with senior leadership and executive experience in academic medicine and the federal government. Her expertise includes pandemic planning and response, health care quality improvement and patient safety, and health policy and management.

Read more

Commentary in Pediatrics: Children Don’t Transmit Covid-19, Schools Should Reopen in Fall

Based on one new and three recent studies, the authors of this commentary in Pediatrics conclude that children rarely transmit Covid-19, either among themselves or to adults. The authors recommend that schools reopen in the fall, since staying home can adversely affects children’s development.

Read more

Seeing is Believing: Effectiveness of Facemasks

Using flow visualization of emulated coughs and sneezes, researchers assessed the efficacy of facemasks in obstructing droplets. Loosely folded facemasks and bandana-style coverings provide minimal stopping-capability for the smallest aerosolized respiratory droplets. Well-fitted homemade masks with multiple layers of quilting fabric, and off-the-shelf cone style masks, proved to be the most effective in reducing droplet dispersal. Importantly, uncovered coughs were able to travel noticeably farther than the currently recommended 6-foot distancing guideline. Without a mask, droplets traveled more than 8 feet.

Read more

FAU Smart City Project Paves the Way for Forecasting COVID-19 Infection Transmission

Researchers are exploring the untapped potential of emerging smart cities to enable hyper-contextualized computational epidemiology to tackle COVID-19. The idea is to partner with the computational epidemiology community to integrate evidence-based models of COVID-19 transmission with hyper-local mobility data to provide place-specific forecasts of disease transmission. When these tools are integrated into city planning efforts, they will provide real-time insights into how mobility changes within the city affect the local population’s susceptibility to future outbreaks.

Read more