A new study says that being silent or speaking quietly could greatly help when it comes to preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
Loud talkers — you know who you are — are much more likely to spread the coronavirus when compared to people who speak quietly. More specifically, those who speak in low tones are capable of reducing the transmission risk of the coronavirus by 80%.
These findings were reported by The Atlantic, which spoke with several experts and concluded that silence in public spaces is an extremely efficient way of keeping the spread of the virus under control.
Since COVID seems to be transmitted primarily through droplets that come out of our nose and mouth when we sneeze or cough, “Every route of viral transmission would go down if we talked less, or talked less loudly, in public spaces,” Jose L. Jimenez, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who studies disease transmission, told The Atlantic. “This is just a very clear fact. It’s not controversial.”
Donald K. Milton, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, echoes those sentiments, telling The Atlantic that “silence and quiet speaking are reasonable means of intervening” to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
The battle that has been waged against the virus, at least in the U.S., has been all about controlling the spread of these particles, whether that’s by keeping air filters in top shape, by encouraging people to wear masks and stay 6-feet apart, or by preventing large groups of people from gathering indoors. Talking quietly has the opportunity to reduce the amount of risk by about the same percentage as wearing a mask.
The article quotes Japan as an example. While the New York government spends $15 million a month submitting their trains to thorough cleanings, subway goers in Japan follow an unwritten rule: they enjoy their quiet time.
While it might be too much to ask for people to take a vow of silence while also coping with the isolation caused by a pandemic, it might help everyone to understand that the pitch and vigor of their conversations can play a role in the spread of germs. The louder you get, the bigger the risk, and that’s without even going into how annoying it is to listen to strangers’ conversations without wanting to.