New Study Confirms That Open Windows Reduce COVID-19 Spread
Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC recommended opening your car windows when driving with others to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Now, researchers at Brown University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst have completed a new study, which confirmed that driving with your windows down is your safest option.
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What did the study entail?
Researchers in the study set out to discover how airflow patterns inside vehicles affect the transmission of COVID-19. To do so, they simulated the in-vehicle airflow of a car moving at 50 mph under six window configurations.
The study only measured the transmission potential between a driver behind the wheel and a passenger in the back right of a two-row passenger car. This means that the study’s findings may not be entirely applicable to other vehicle types.
What were the results?
Researchers found that having all your windows down is the safest way to drive since it has the most air changes per hour. With this configuration, the aerosols that the driver exhales only have about a 0.2-2 percent chance of reaching the rear passenger. However, with all the windows closed, this chance increases to roughly 8-10 percent, making this configuration the most dangerous option.
Besides keeping every window open, another good option is to have all the windows down except for the one next to the passenger. Researchers also discovered that opening the two windows by the empty seats is surprisingly more effective than opening the two windows closest to each person.
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These researchers plan to continue studying in-vehicle airflow moving forward. They intend to discover how vehicle speed and the amount your windows are rolled down also affect COVID-19 transmissions.
Amanda Drago lives in West Chester, Ohio with her wonderful family, which includes her adorable dog, Coco. Amanda recently graduated from Miami University with degrees in both marketing and creative writing. However, if she was ever forced to change career paths, she imagines that she would train dogs for movies. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, and watching Netflix. She also has a special place in her heart for theatre and purchases tickets to as many shows as she can. See more articles by Amanda.