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Do we think we do not need to worry about COVID-19 while using a public toilet ?

A group of researchers from YangzhouUniversity in China recently reported that flushing public toilets can release clouds of virus-laden aerosols that can potentially be inhaled.
If this fact is not noteworthy enough, after running further computer simulations, they concluded that washing urinals does the same.
In a scientific paper, Physics of Fluids, from AIP Publishing, the group shares their claim by simulating and monitoring the movements of virus-laden particles when urinals are flushed.

The researchers’ work clearly shows that public restrooms can be dangerous places for potential virus-contracted infections, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other work has shown that transmission of viruses through both feces andurine is possible.

“To do this, we used a computational fluid dynamics method to model the particle motion that occurs with the act of washing,” said Xiangdong Liu, “The specific models are the fluid volume model and the discrete phase model.”
Flushing a urinal, just like flushing a toilet, involves interaction between the gas and liquid interfaces.
The result of flushing causes the release of a wide spread of aerosol particles from the urinal, which the researchers simulated and monitored.
What the simulations revealed is disturbing: the trajectory of the tiny particles ejected from the flushing of a urinal “manifests a type of external diffusion, with more than 57 percent of the particles moving away from the urinal,” Liu said.

But that’s not all; when men use urinals inside a public restroom, these tiny particles can reach their thigh within 5.5 seconds compared to flushing, which takes 35 seconds to reach a slightly higher level.
Urinal particles, however, “show a more violent climbing tendency,” Liu said, “The rate of climb is much faster than flushing.”

Urinals are used more frequently within densely populated areas, and researchers point out that particles will travel faster and farther, which poses a serious public health challenge.
This work emphasizes how important it is to wear a mask in public places but especially in bathrooms.
“From our work, it can be deduced that urinal flushing actually promotes the spread of bacteria and viruses,” says Liu, “Wearing a mask should be mandatory in public restrooms during the pandemic, and anti-scattering improvements are urgently needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

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