A University of Colorado Boulder professor who specializes in aerosol science believes that the current guidelines of keeping more than 6-feet of distance between themselves and others are not sufficient enough and that people, whether indoors or outdoors, should be significantly further apart than that.
Jose Jimenez, a professor of chemistry, says that people wishing to recreate outdoors should take considerably steeper precautions than those currently recommended by the state and the federal government. Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order, issued earlier this week, states that you are allowed to exercise outdoors around your home, provided you stay at least 6 feet away from others.
“The best analogy is when someone is smoking tobacco or marijuana,” Jimenez said. “Think about how many times you have walked by people and smelled tobacco or pot smoke that someone else had exhaled. Often, those people were farther away than six feet.”
“If that happens, we are inhaling the contents of someone’s lungs with limited dilution. Then we could inhale enough viruses to get sick, if the person exhaling the air was sick. Therefore, the (6-foot) rule, while useful, is not enough. We have to imagine that everyone we cross paths with is smoking, and we want to make sure that we never smell their smoke. So we want to keep larger distances, especially indoors or with light winds, or if they are upwind of us.”
So, if 6-feet between us isn’t enough social distancing, what would Jimenez recommend? Personally, he has been keeping 25-feet or more of distance between himself and others outdoors.