Truth behind virus runner warning
It's the video that's caused many people to think twice about exercising outdoors - but one of the study's authors has been quick to stress that cycling and running are "not big risks" for coronavirus.
Last week, video created by tech company Ansys showcased new research from Belgium university KU Leuven and Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.
The researchers used aerodynamic modelling to show how droplets containing coronavirus could potentially spread while doing everyday activities such as walking, talking or running.
But what caused the most concern was how the Ansys video showed how you could come into contact with droplets of COVID-19 by being behind someone who was running.
Ansys principal engineer for healthcare Marc Horner said running side-by-side could be less risky than in single file.
However since the study was released and was widely circulated one of the research's authors, Professor Bert Blocken, has stressed that he still supports outdoor exercise.
In most countries impacted by coronavirus, including Australia, exercising outdoors is one of only a few reasons people are allowed to leave their homes at the moment.
"Cycling and running are not big risks for #COVID19 spread. But moving closely in slipstream is. This holds everywhere, also when walking in supermarkets, shops, etc. No need at all to ban running or cycling," Prof Blocken told The London Economic.
He also told Belgium newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that a slipstream was "the zone that arises right behind a person when they are walking or cycling, and which pulls the air a bit along with this moving person".
"Cyclists like to use it during an escape, because then they have to put in much less effort. But someone who walks or walks also has such a slipstream," Prof Blocken said.
"We have seen that no matter how that zone forms, droplets end up in that air stream. So it's best to avoid that slipstream at the moment."
However Prof Blocken stressed that the research was based on aerodynamics rather than virology and it wasn't known what risk was posed if you came into contact with coronavirus-infected droplets.
'IMAGINE THAT EVERYONE IS SMOKING'
Princeton University virus ecology and evolution expert Dylan H. Morris told ABC's 7.30 last night that you have a higher chance of catching or spreading coronavirus while exercising.
"It is possible because you're breathing more heavily when exercising you pose a slightly higher risk to others because you're expelling more particles and you yourself are at slightly higher risk because you're taking deeper breaths," he said.
Mr Morris recommended people take the same precautions they would to avoid cigarette smoke or consider wearing a face mask.
"Imagine that everyone is smoking. Think about it that way. If you were stand next to a smoker and they puffed in your face, you would inhale a lot," he said.
"If you stand six feet away, less and 12 feet away, even less, and maybe considering exercising with a face mask which particularly will protect others from you, because while it won't block everything, it will block some of the flying exhalation."
Originally published as Truth behind virus runner warning