Release 20200618

Dear LCO community:

After the Ministry of Health (Minsal) announced an adjustment that includes 31,412 cases that had not been counted, the statistics indicate that one out of every 90.14 inhabitants of the country has been diagnosed with Covid-19, according to the number of inhabitants reported in the Minsal's epidemiological reports. With more than 3,000 deaths from or with Coronavirus, Chile is in the top 10 of the countries with the highest total number of infections in the world, and the second with the most cases per million people. This information is discouraging.

I don't know if it happens to you: I often find myself in doubt about the real risk of contagion by COVID.19 I am one of those who take it super seriously, to the point of avoiding all social contact, beyond social distancing. I ask myself: What should I do? What should I and should I not touch? Where and how should I breathe? What are the inherent risks of contagion that my activities entail? What protective elements should I use? The good news is something I found something useful in this regard and would like to share it with you. Research from the U.S. government's Center for Disease Control provides new, interesting and reassuring data.

This study has made official the emerging scientific evidence on coronavirus transmission, and indicates that the risk of transmission of this virus from surfaces is very low, as is transmission in outdoor activities and well-ventilated spaces. On the other hand, there is a very high risk of transmission in indoor meetings, even with social distance, such as offices, places for religious services, conferences, restaurants, cinemas, theaters and public restrooms.

Being close to a person by maintaining a distance of 2 meters carries a low risk if this closeness is given for less than 45 minutes. Talking to someone, wearing a mask, involves a low risk if it is less than 4 minutes.

Other interesting data indicate that the viral load required to initiate the disease is approximately 1000 viral particles (vp). As a background, the viral load in the following activities is:

  • Breathing: ~ 20 vp / minute
  • Speech: ~ 200 vp / minute
  • Cough: ~ 200 million vp (enough can stay in the air for hours in a poorly ventilated environment)
  • Sneeze: ~ 200 million vp

However, it is very important to continue with the prevention measures of this virus. That is, use of mask covering mouth and nose, correct hand washing and physical distance. In addition, prefer ventilated spaces, with low density of people and not for prolonged periods.

As always, I appreciate your cooperation and willingness in this situation and I hope that we all stay in good health.


Leopoldo Infante Lira

Director Las Campanas Observatory

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