Because COVID-19 has been detected in urine and stool samples, public restrooms can be cause for concern. Researchers measured droplets generated from flushing a toilet and a urinal in a public restroom and found a substantial increase in the measured aerosol levels in the ambient environment with the total number of droplets generated in each flushing test ranging up to the tens of thousands. Due to their small size, these droplets can remain suspended for a long time.
Think you don’t need to worry about COVID-19 while using a public restroom? Researchers from Yangzhou University in China recently reported that flushing public restroom toilets can release clouds of virus-laden aerosols for you to potentially inhale. If that’s not cringeworthy enough, after running additional computer simulations, they’ve concluded that flushing urinals does likewise. In Physics of Fluids, the group shares its work simulating and tracking virus-laden particle movements when urinals are flushed.