Is 6 Feet Far Enough? Experts Weigh in on Social Distancing

April 26, 2020

Since the coronavirus has spread, health experts have recommended people social distance to stop the spread.

Health officials across the United States created the 6-foot rule for social distancing as well as mask guidelines and stay-at-home orders, reported Today.

Recent research shares that the 6-foot rule reduces the risk of coronavirus, but it may not be enough.

Engineers at Florida Atlantic University imitated a cough in a lab for research. In that test, scientists used a laser to measure how far droplets traveled. In 41 seconds, the vapor from the “heavy cough” reached 9 feet. Other tests that were conducted reached as far as 12 feet.

Dr. Sid Verma suggested that if someone sees another person cough in public, to avoid the area for several minutes.

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the droplets from the coughs can travel up to 23 to 27 feet.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gustavo Ferrer, a pulmonologist and president of Intensive Care Experts Health Network, said he highly recommends people follow the 3-6 feet distance rule due to “historical data.”

"If any patient coughs and you put it in a chamber, it's going to go down," he said. "The greater transmission is usually in close contact, and most experts would define that between 3 and 6 feet."

Dr. Mary Schmidt, an infectious disease physician and associate professor of clinical medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University said she has "been saying from the get-go" that "6 feet has not been a realistic recommendation."

As experts weighed in on this topic, they all agreed that wearing a face mask is your best option.

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