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Thread: Should we keep our distance from pedestrians?

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    Senior Member Happy Harry's Avatar
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    Should we keep our distance from pedestrians?

    On the occasions that I venture out I am careful to do my best to keep to the two metre social distancing rule. But like myself, you may find on your drive to and from the supermarket via the country lanes, that your car is automatically giving those pedestrians an extra wide berth.

    Doing just that the other day I thought to myself 'how daft are you when you're enclosed inside your own cab'. Thinking about it later I considered that perhaps I wasn't that daft after all.

    Looking around on line I came across this: according to research by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it’s not just the person next to us we should worry about: coughing spreads droplets as far as six metres, and sneezing as much as eight metres. These droplets stay suspended in the air for up to 10 minutes. That's for coughs and sneezes and they don't happen as often as normal breathing, so perhaps the two metre rule mostly applies to people just standing around in a queue. If they're out jogging down a quiet country lane then they're inhaling and exhaling much faster, so in all probability are surrounded by a much larger cloud of their own breath. Think you're alright inside your car? well think again. The faster you travel then the more efficiently you scoop up that cloud before it has chance to disperse. Then, of course, your pollen filter is not much protection against a virus some 100 times smaller than the smallest known pollen grains. So what do we do? It seems to me that whenever your car is anywhere near a pedestrian you should switch off the air-con and put it into re-circulating mode. Unless of course you have reason to disagree.
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    Senior Member payno's Avatar
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    Why don't we just all wear face masks to catch all those coughs and sneezes
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    Hello Payno,

    if they are too small for a pollen filter, how is a fabric mask going to stop them, either to or from the wearer?

    Alec
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    Couple of good points being raised, but I think it still boils down to people’s behaviour having a more significant effect.

    Last Sunday’s daily walk was taken through an urban estate, and it amazed me how many motorists were on ‘essential journeys’ with the family! - many with the car’s passenger window wound down.
    Of course, none of these vehicles passed at a 2 meter distance despite generally having road space to do so.
    If we saw oncoming pedestrians then we crossed the road until we passed them. All fine.
    Then we found ourselves being passed by a cyclist riding as close to the kerb edge as he could and within a meter of us - swiftly to be followed by his good lady - maintaining 2 mtrs from him but less than a meter from us!
    Add to this, two stationary vehicles with the driver of the following car occupying pavement space standing at the passenger window of his acquaintance’s car having a chat, while his lady sits in the passenger seat of his following car - with the door open!
    What is it that all these people don’t understand about a 2mtr. limit?
    Rant over.
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    Senior Member payno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by piman View Post
    Hello Payno,

    if they are too small for a pollen filter, how is a fabric mask going to stop them, either to or from the wearer?

    Alec
    Quite simple Alec as a face mask will take the force out of the cough / sneeze so it wont spread as far as it would without the mask lessening the rate of infection
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    Senior Member stewartw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by piman View Post
    Hello Payno,

    if they are too small for a pollen filter, how is a fabric mask going to stop them, either to or from the wearer?

    Alec
    This is an interesting and informative article.
    We use FFP2 masks, which attest to trap .3microns, but with Brownian motion the virus at about .1microns should be caught.

    https://fastlifehacks.com/n95-vs-ffp/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Austin160 View Post
    Couple of good points being raised, but I think it still boils down to people’s behaviour having a more significant effect.

    Last Sunday’s daily walk was taken through an urban estate, and it amazed me how many motorists were on ‘essential journeys’ with the family! - many with the car’s passenger window wound down.
    Of course, none of these vehicles passed at a 2 meter distance despite generally having road space to do so.
    If we saw oncoming pedestrians then we crossed the road until we passed them. All fine.
    Then we found ourselves being passed by a cyclist riding as close to the kerb edge as he could and within a meter of us - swiftly to be followed by his good lady - maintaining 2 mtrs from him but less than a meter from us!
    Add to this, two stationary vehicles with the driver of the following car occupying pavement space standing at the passenger window of his acquaintance’s car having a chat, while his lady sits in the passenger seat of his following car - with the door open!
    What is it that all these people don’t understand about a 2mtr. limit?
    Rant over.
    Various people have, on the BBC website, suggested that in the open one is very very unlikely to become infected. Given that sand from Africa has been known to fall on cars in the UK, a virus can easily travel considerably more than 2 meters if the conditions are right. Whether it survives the journey is another matter. A sneeze can send droplets up to 8 metres, thus the 2 meter distance appears to be somewhat arbitrary. However, one should respect other people’s sensitivities irrespective of one’s own. If you want to keep 2 meters away from me, fine, but if you pass me at 1 metre I in the open air I am really not terribly worried. Start coughing and it’s a different matter.

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    Senior Member Neilr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffR;1250589A
    sneeze can send droplets up to 8 metres, thus the 2 meter distance appears to be somewhat arbitrary.
    And that's the point The droplets carry the virus. The masks catch the droplets. The risk to others is dramatically reduced if we all wear masks.
    Last edited by Neilr; 29-04-20 at 12:47.
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    Really,all that is needed is a bit of good,old fashioned common sense.

    A quality that seems to be sadly lacking in millenial and snowflake generations.
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    Senior Member stewartw's Avatar
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    When I were in my late teens / early twenties, I had a close friend who had graduated in chemistry and was as LRIC (Licentiate Royal Institute of Chemistry).
    His speciality was polymers.
    We discussed, amongst life, the universe and everything, the smell of plastics.
    Apparently many of the esters that are given off are of unknown harm to us humans.
    His, not so humble, opinion was that if you could smell it then it could be harmful.
    I have never forgotten that and pull away as soon as I get a whiff!
    Not sue the relevance here, but it may be.
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