How dangerous is it to ride the bus? To teach and/or attend class? What’s my risk in a public demonstration? University of Colorado Boulder atmospheric chemist Jose-Luis Jimenez has released a pilot tool that may help us answer some of these questions, or at least provide some informed guidance.
The COVID Airborne Transmission Estimator is now publicly available online, said Jimenez, who is a Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Fellow and professor of chemistry at CU Boulder. It will be updated as more and more is understood about COVID-19 airborne transmission, and the tool is still somewhat tricky for a non-expert to use. Jimenez is an expert in the chemistry and dynamics of particles in the air. He normally focuses on pollution particles, but for the last several months, he and many colleagues around the world have been focused on COVID-19 virus-containing particles, which spread through the air. He drew on those colleagues to informally review his Estimator, which is based on published methods and data.
The model assumes that people practice physical distancing of 6 feet, so that droplet transmission does not play a role. If this is not the case, there would be additional risk besides that estimated with the tool.