April 10, 2020

"In the last 24 hours, a computer simulation by a team of Belgian engineers that tracks the 'spread droplets' and 'slipstream' of the exhalations, coughs, and sneezes of people who are running, walking, or cycling has gone viral."

"Perhaps you have seen this gif on Twitter, Facebook, or NextDoor. Or, as some people on our staff have seen, perhaps write-ups of it have been texted to you by concerned friends or family. Though this was not the specific goal of the simulation, it is currently being used on neighborhood groups and social media as scientific evidence that people who are jogging and biking are putting others at risk. If you are getting 'droplets' or 'globules' on you, the thinking goes, you are at risk of contracting coronavirus. 'People should read and not misread my tweets and texts,' Bert Blocken of Eindhoven University of Technology, the lead researcher on the simulation, wrote in an email to Motherboard. 'I have never and nowhere discouraged people from walking, running, or cycling. Rather the opposite. Maybe people should read more, and react less.'"

"The Viral ‘Study’ About Runners Spreading Coronavirus Is Not Actually a Study/Belgian researchers chose to bypass all standard science publishing protocols to publish research that has been overhyped and isn't well understood" (Vice).

Yeah, I got that thing texted to me. I think people who are sheltering indoors are hot to drag others indoors.
Blocken has yet to publish a peer-reviewed paper about the simulation. In fact, he hasn't even published a non-peer-reviewed study.... Given what Blocken has put into the world, taken at face value, some people are understandably concluding that it is impossible to run or cycle safely in many cities; he recommends a distance of 65 feet between bikers and other people, something that is impossible to do in cities. The issue with Blocken’s suggestion that we “read more, and react less” is that there is almost nothing to read, and there is no study to critique....
On Facebook and Twitter, the article is being shared in neighborhood groups and is being used to spur a battle between pedestrians and runners and cyclists. A typical comment is something like this, shared in an Iowa City "Quarantine Survival" Facebook page: “Omg people keep doing this. Runners and bikers with zero regard for fellow pedestrians 🤬🤬”...

I showed Blocken's research to William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard's Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. He said that the virality of Blocken's research is harmful, and that Blocken's suggestion in the white paper that this research is a "modest contribution" toward the fight against Covid-19 "makes my blood boil." "Where the droplets are is much less relevant than the amount of transmission that occurs via this route."

Crucially, scientists are still unsure how well the coronavirus spreads in the air, and many have cautiously speculated that the overall risk of transmission appears to be less outdoors. Globules and droplets do likely carry the virus, but that doesn’t mean that anyone who gets a droplet on them from someone’s breath is going to be infected. Transmission depends on a host of factors; scientists believe an important one of these is “viral load,” which is a measure of how much of the virus is present....

62 comments:

stlcdr said...

I c wat u did thar!

traditionalguy said...

Fear is a many splendored thing.

Ryan said...

I am still going jogging outdoors. Exercise for humans is at least as important as exercise for dogs, and I don't see the dog people stopping.

StoughtonSconnie said...

Could this have driven Evers to make his East Germanesque ban on going to State parks? It sure doesn’t seem likely that he is a particularly avid outdoorsman. Or could it have been his puppet master Maggie Gau who saw this and ordered the closure?

Lurker21 said...

I showed Blocken's research to William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard's Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. He said that the virality of Blocken's research is harmful, and that Blocken's suggestion in the white paper that this research is a "modest contribution" toward the fight against Covid-19 "makes my blood boil."

Maybe it's the virus that is making Hanage's blood boil.

Bad puns make my blood boil.

rhhardin said...

It's the same as being within six feet. It doesn't mean you get the virus.

Wind however is perfectly understood. The stuff in the air doesn't know there's a wind, it just goes with the wind. So if it takes 30 seconds to fall to the ground, it takes at least that much time in a wind, during which it may travel any distance downwind, many times the six feet that the 30 seconds was designed for. No peer review needed for that.

You get wind even in still air, if you're moving or the other guy is moving or both.

Don't occupy the same bit of air that the other guy was just in, is the separation rule.

MayBee said...

I think people who are sheltering indoors are hot to drag others indoors.

Yes.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Stupid, bored people share bullshit on social media that gives them the entwined thrill of Danger! and recreational judging. Just don’t let them have any actual control over me. Which I must point out is kind of a losing battle, much to my chagrined surprise.

rhhardin said...

You could use a diffusion model in still air. That's tricky because the speed of spread is infinite. You can't outrun it.

iowan2 said...

If you are getting 'droplets' or 'globules' on you,, the thinking goes, you are at risk of contracting coronavirus.

Quotes like this drive me nut. I keep getting lectured about experts, and science, but what they are trying to force feed me are coming from people with credentials making authoritative statements, that are either not based on science, or twist facts into science that does not pertain.

The glaring FUBAR that are COVID 19 models, should be enough for reasonable people to show huge levels of skepticism.

The gross body count running on the ticker at the bottom of the 60" TV screen is propaganda, not science. Numbers out of context is defined as propaganda.
The longer this goes, the more it smells like a scam.

Ryan said...

Come on Rhhardin, is there no way to spin this in a mysoginist way? Like, women are irratiinal and cannot understand science, hence such infographics get spread online.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Hubs just showed me a picture of 6000 cars in line for a food bank in San Antonio. Some undoubtedly free shit army (there’s a lot of that in south Texas) but plenty of actual need, I’m sure. Cops yelling at people to get back in their cars. Winning!

Owen said...

Gasoline, fire. Some assembly required.

This might be an interesting exercise in computer modeling of fluid dynamics, but no way is it useful in practice —except to paralyze everyone. He may think it’s a positive addition to the “discourse,” and he can’t be held totally responsible for the swathe of hysteria that follows his release of this viral product of his intellect. But it’s irresponsible.

Wince said...

So, you mean to tell me the ad in the back of the Teen Magazine with the cartoon drawing of the girl "Before" with the dots on her face and then "After" without the dots on her face doesn't really prove Vac-u-tex suction device removes blackheads?

As George Carlin said, it only puts little red rings all over your face?

"You and your rings, get outta here."

David Begley said...

Ann:

Keep doing your sunrise runs. You’re fit and thin. They’re not.

Fernandinande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

Do an image search for sneeze and you'll see a lot of back-lit photographic images which look similar enough to the animation.

The funniest site features an Asian woman with a gigantic snot output...but if you get to the livescience link the page appears for a second ("Why do bright lights make me sneeze?") then the livescience.com page jumps to another page which falsely claims "Sorry! Page not found." because they censored it - racism!

Howard said...

Another example of why the authorities want to keep the truth hidden from the masses... They can't handle the truth.

wild chicken said...

Ha, knew it. Spraying droplets all over. So I give them a wide berth. They never reciprocate though. They're so obsessive about muh run and whatever's in their ear buds that it's just get tf off my trail.

I'm sure Ann's not like that.

Fernandinande said...

I think people who are sheltering indoors are hot to drag others indoors.

You're always finding hidden motivations for what other people write, but you really are a terrible mind-reader.

Ryan said...

My brother has gone totally off the deep end with this 5G nonsense. Does anyone here believe that stuff? He tried to make me watch a 2-hour video of some English footballer guy explaining it. I don't care if you are right, figure out how to explain it in 3 minutes to a 5 year old.

Wilbur said...

Of course the truly socially responsible thing is to do like Wilbur: workout on a treadmill inside and then spend hours outside in the walled-in back yard. No droplets about which to worry.

So why isn't everyone doing what I say???!!!

Wilbur said...

"A typical comment is something like this, shared in an Iowa City "Quarantine Survival" Facebook page: “Omg people keep doing this. Runners and bikers with zero regard for fellow pedestrians 🤬🤬”..."

Beginning any statement, written or oral, with "Omg" is prima facie evidence of imbecility.

JPS said...

Belgian engineers? I'm skeptical. The French tell Belgian jokes like we used to tell Polish jokes. (I've never understood why we did that.) Or they just use Belgian as a put-down, as in, "Ta mère est Belge."

I hope Belgian social scientists are studying the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on Flemings versus Walloons.

rhhardin said...

Come on Rhhardin, is there no way to spin this in a mysoginist way? Like, women are irratiinal and cannot understand science, hence such infographics get spread online.

Women get no satisfaction out of thinking about it and so don't develop an intuition for it.

They can do it but are not inclined to.

Mansplaining is the primary source of vital science information for them.

MayBee said...

I just looked on Facebook, and sure enough people are sharing it.

Along with the idea that Coronavirus is somehow attacking black people more, and that's "messed up". I think that data has made it more exciting for the well meaning white women to Just Stay Home. They are not just saving humanity. They are especially saving black people.

Sebastian said...

OT: For those of you who don't keep up with Power Line, head over there to see a post on Alex Berenson, who has been doing on Twitter what some of the pro-sanity commentators have been doing around here, exposing bad models, projections, and overreactions.

Heartless Aztec said...

John Prine money quote: 🎶Blow up your tv...🎶 or cell phone, computer, what have you...

JPS said...

Ryan,

"My brother has gone totally off the deep end with this 5G nonsense."

A friend called to ask if it could possibly be true, as his brother insists, that the radiation involved in 5G transmission splits the O2 in the air into atomic oxygen. I told him that it takes fairly high-energy ultraviolet to do that, and that 5G is in the microwave region, i.e. thousands of times less energy per photon.

Or, more common-sensically, if 5G radiation did split the oxygen in the air, it would be useless for communication because it wouldn't travel very far.

(My friend knew his brother couldn't be right, he was just looking for calibration.)

Ryan said...

Good job brah.

rehajm said...

... gives them the entwined thrill of Danger! and recreational judging...

Yep. Let's make a cool animation about the virus and see if it goes 'viral'

How long before someone invents a platform to capitalize on this, TikTok, TikTok...

rehajm said...

Now do farts.

Ryan said...

Thanks, JPS. Science pulls through. 5g and coronavirus is also in the Book of Revelation. Just in case you were wondering.

JPS said...

Ryan - ha! Nice.

Ryan said...

The strength of a fart smell decreases in inverse proportion to the cube of the distance between the smeller's nose and the farter's anal sphincter.

Howard said...

Rhhardin is correct. I mansplained droplet cloud flow and transport model to the wife several weeks ago before we went to masks to get her to hold her breath in what would be the heart of the plume.

Mind you I'm pretty sure this is unnecessary behavior. But it's a game of avoid the invisible possibly non-existent cooties which stimulates that childlike feeling of freedom and abandon. I find that my decontamination ppc exposure reduction ad obsurdo hyper-vigilance has a calming effect on my wife so that's a form of indirect mansplaining.

bagoh20 said...

One of the least appreciated things is others people enjoying themselves. It's usually illegal, or should be.

gspencer said...

Morlocks will be sounding their dinner bell, and emerging from quarantine, on April 15 and will join with government parasite employees in feasting on the now idled but otherwise productive.

Earnest Prole said...

The only way that animation could have been better is if it showed the virus banging the jogger's mother.

Ryan said...

Now, the slipstream of a fart is much smaller than that of a coronavirus coughx because the anal sphincter is closer to the ground than the oral sphincter. In other words, the molecules of a fart have less potential and kinetic energy upon emmission.

Howard said...

Gases which are essentially dissolved in air and do not acquire a droplet condensing around it are a different aminal. No drag coefficient or significant gravity fudge factors into gas phase transportation.

Leland said...

It seems we are hitting a plateau. I won't say crest, because I'm not going to predict which way it heads next. If the models are right; regions that have been spared up to now should start seeing an uptick. Of course, the models may be wrong and the peak has been lowered and has come early.

That puts us in a situation of discussing the future. Perhaps a reopening in May rather than months down the road. Before we get to cocky, we are still seeing nearly 2,000 deaths a day in the US, and that's been steady only a few days, while a week ago we were just peaking over a thousand deaths a day. That's bad and suggests what has been done to date may have been necessary.

However, it doesn't suggest we need to be doing more. And that's the interesting thing to watch. How many people are pushing for more draconian measures? How many are continuing to push for even longer periods of authoritarian control? Those people are climbing out on fragile limbs now. They will expose themselves. Either they are incredible genius seeing something not obvious to the rest of us, or they are unable to accept the obvious that is right in front of them.

Ryan said...

Holding one's breath (e.g., in a slipstream) while jogging is an effecive means of hypoxic training. "They" say Steve Prefontaine could do it for a full 400m.

rcocean said...

Viral Load is the key. Plus air currents will disperse the droplets - reducing the load even further. If you and another walker pass it each other at 6 feet, you are out of his droplet zone in 1 second or even less. The viral load would be minimal.

This is completely different from talking to an infected person for say 10 seconds or a minute. Or Standing next to an infected person in a grocery store for 5 minutes. No air currents. massive - comparatively speaking - viral load. And the the droplets somehow have to get inside you, just having them on your face doesn't mean its dangerous.

roesch/voltaire said...

Some bikers on the Badger trail, which I try to bike daily, are wearing masks, but I rely on the wind, distance and speed, which at my age is not fast, but sufficient to keep me safe.

Chuck said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Francisco D said...

Transmission depends on a host of factors; scientists believe an important one of these is “viral load,” which is a measure of how much of the virus is present....

That might explain why the NYC area has so many deaths - subway and bus riding. More than half of all USA COVID-19 death are in NY and NJ.

Kyzer SoSay said...

"My brother has gone totally off the deep end with this 5G nonsense. Does anyone here believe that stuff?"

No.

Kyzer SoSay said...

"Viral Load is the key."

Yes.

Kyzer SoSay said...

"Mansplaining is the primary source of vital science information for them."

This is why I married a science teacher. She is the rare curious sort.

Known Unknown said...

Back inside, peasant!

This draconian shit is going to break one way or the other soon.

Known Unknown said...

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the boiled blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it's natural manure.

Owen said...

Sebastian @ 8:33: Good call-out on Alex Berenson. He seems to know what he’s talking about —no less important, he knows how to counterpunch without getting ugly. We need more like him.

CPL said...

So they did a study whereby folks with a very bad cough and a fever go out for a run and/or a bike ride. Based on personal history that never f....g happens.

rhhardin said...

Somebody long ago did an essay on walking the Central Park jogging trail while smoking an area-clearing cigar, detailing remarks he got from the outraged.

Mark said...

RH hits on a relevant point. If you want to see what a possible dispersion might look like, consider the ability to smell cigarette smoke expelled from someone's lungs at a distance. If you can smell it at all, there is some degree of exposure, some degree of smoke molecules in the air.

Is covid on the breath greater or less than smoke in this respect?

Maybe a better comparison would be bad breath? Can you generally smell that six feet away?

Char Char Binks said...

The science is clear — miasma is real.

Static Ping said...

Wait, I thought Eindhoven was in the Netherlands.

Yancey Ward said...

Damn, no wonder that Market Garden failed!!!

JaimeRoberto said...

On my rides I've adjusted my route, my pace and my rest stops based on riders ahead of me. I could overtake them, but I would do so slowly, spending more time in their draft and breathing deeply at the same time. Maybe I'm overreacting, but I'm in no hurry, so it seems wiser to give them a wide berth.

Caligula said...

So, how many riders can be safely accommodated in a full-size city bus: MKE is allowing ten, but is the actual number ... zero?

Ryan said...

"Maybe a better comparison would be bad breath? Can you generally smell that six feet away?"

Yes, if they are a smoker. Our breath molecules also travel much farther than we can detect with our shitty human noses. Dogs are proof of that.