New European research suggests far greater distances could be necessary to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus among those people venturing outdoors to exercise amid a pandemic, The Washington Post reported.
The European white paper, conducted by researchers at KU Leuven in Belgium and the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, theorizes that a vacuum, of sorts, created by the very act of physical activity, could cause respiratory droplets to spread much farther than the prescribed six feet considered safe for social distancing.
“When you are moving — running, cycling, walking — you are actually creating an area behind you that is often called a slipstream,” study coordinator Bert Blocken told the Brussels Times, explaining that athletes often use such “slipstreams” to boost their speeds.
Blocken also told The Globe and Mail that anyone seeking an outdoor workout during the coronavirus pandemic should maintain a distance of at least 15 feet from the nearest person when walking, 33 feet when running or cycling slowly to moderately and 65 feet when running or cycling vigorously.
Critics cautioned on making too much of Blocken’s research, which is preliminary and has not been subject to the peer-review process, according to Vice.