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Airborne Coronavirus: Japanese supercomputer suggests changing travel, work amid threats

A supercomputer-powered model simulated in Japan suggests that commuter trains with open windows and limit the number of passengers may help reduce the risk of coronavirus infection when scientists warn that the virus is spreading in the air.

In an open letter published on Monday, 239 scientists from 32 countries outlined the evidence, which they said showed that floating virus particles can infect people in the respiratory tract.

The World Health Organization (WHO) admits that “evidence is emerging” of airborne transmission, but is not certain.

Even if the coronavirus is airborne, there is still the question of how many infections occur through this route. Yuki Furuse, a professor at Kyoto University, said that the degree of concentration of the virus in the air may also determine the risk of infection.

In the open letter, scientists urge improved ventilation and avoid crowded enclosed environments. This is one of the co-authors of the letter Shin-ichi Tanabe (Shin-ichi Tanabe) suggested that Japan had adopted a recommendation widely adopted a few months ago.

Tanabe, a professor at Waseda University in Tokyo, said: “In Japan, the COVID-19 Response Committee insisted on the 3C in the early stage.” “This is ahead of the world.” “

With Japan’s taming of the pandemic, so far, Japan has confirmed more than 19,000 cases and 977 deaths. Japanese Minister of Economic Affairs Yasutoshi Nishimura attributed its success to the 3C and cluster tracking strategy.

Japanese research giant Riken recently conducted research using Fugaku, the fastest supercomputer in the world, to simulate how viruses spread in the air in various environments, and suggested several ways to reduce the risk of infection in public places.

Its lead researcher Makoto Tsubokura said that opening windows on commuter trains can increase ventilation by 2 to 3 times, thereby reducing the concentration of environmental microorganisms.

The simulation shows that to get enough ventilation, there must be space between passengers, which is a huge change from Japan’s notorious commuter train.

Other findings suggest installing partitions in offices and classrooms, while in hospitals, the bed should be surrounded by curtains that touch the ceiling.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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