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Can the Coronavirus Be Transmitted By Breathing, Talking, Laughing, Yelling, Singing, Cheering, Crying, or Whooping?

Updated on May 18, 2020
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Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.

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Most people are aware that the coronavirus can be spread by coughing and sneezing. What they might not know is that droplets can be emitted from the mouth by other functions as well. Droplets generated during speech and other functions of the mouth can be a transmission of viruses.

Recent studies show that droplets can come from the mouth by breathing, talking, laughing, screaming, cheering, crying, and from preachers who whoop. That's why a mask should be used whenever people are around people.

Social distancing has been ruled to be at least six feet away. However, droplets from the mouth go much further than that as seen in the photos above and below.

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On Friday, May 15, NBC's journalists Stephanie Gosk and A. Pawlowski reported that at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic experts warned that people could become infected if a person who was tested positive expelled respiratory droplets while coughing or sneezing.

In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added talking and perhaps breathing as other ways an infected person can transmit the virus to others.

According to The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on May 13, more functions of the mouth were added that might also transmit the virus in confined spaces. The PNAS explains:

"Speech droplets are considered to be a very likely mode of virus transmission. Highly sensitive laser light has revealed that loud speech can emit thousands of oral fluid droplets per second. In a closed environment, the droplets can last up to 14 minutes. Normal speaking can produce thousands of small droplets. Loud speaking, laughing, singing, crying, and cheering can produce even more droplets."

Breathing

Breathing is a normal function, and everyone needs to breathe in order to live. However, some people have labored breathing, and they breathe with their mouths wide open. Sometimes they drool, and that drool contains droplets. Anything coming from the mouth of an infected person could infect others.

Talking

Scientists conducted a test at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the University of Pennsylvania. The test subjects were asked to repeat the words "stay healthy" for 25 seconds. That particular phrase was chosen because the "th" in the word "healthy" is a good way to prove that droplets are emitted by talking.

A laser light detected that 2,600 small droplets came about per second when the phrase was spoken during normal speech. Can you imagine the impact that speech has when it is louder and goes on longer? Surely, louder speech and longer conversations will produce even more droplets.

Research was provided in a letter to the White House in April that the coronavirus can be spread by droplets during conversations in confined spaces. The White House has declined to comment on it. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci has made similar comments in the past about droplets coming from the mouth by means other than coughing and sneezing.

Laughing

We know that laughter is the best medicine, but it can also be a way of expelling droplets from the mouth. Be careful when you are around people who are having a big belly laugh because droplets come out of their mouths, and they just might land on you. If you are around someone having a hearty laugh, step away.

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Yelling and Screaming

If there was ever a time for people to stop yelling and screaming at one another, it is now during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Proverbs 15:1-2, "A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness."

Keep those in your household safe by not yelling and screaming at them. Speak in a soft voice to keep your droplets in your own mouth and not on those around you.

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Singing

When the coronavirus first started spreading in the United States, there was news about choir members being tested positive after rehearsals. That's because they were in a confined space standing close to one another as they opened their mouths wide to sing.

Back in early March, leaders of the Skagit Valley Chorale debated whether to go ahead with a weekly rehearsal because the virus was already killing people in the Seattle, Washington area. The choir rehearsal did take place at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church on March 10 with 60 of the 121 members participating during the 2½ hour rehearsal.

Within three weeks after the rehearsal, 45 choir members tested positive for COVID-19, three were hospitalized, and two of them died.

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Cheering

Football games and other sporting events are not happening these days. That's a good thing not only for the athletes but also for the cheerleaders who shout to the top of their lungs while standing on top of one another.

People who watch sporting events stand or sit close together and cheer. As they do, droplets are transferred from their mouths onto those around them.

Crying

Crying might have the same results as talking, laughing, singing, and other functions of the mouth. When a person cries, tears come from the eyes, but droplets come from the mouth and nose. Be careful when you are trying to comfort someone who is crying. You might be putting yourself in danger.

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Whooping

For those who don't know, whooping is a celebratory style of preaching that pastors typically use at the end of their sermons. It is a tradition among many black preachers. However, more and more white preachers have begun to whoop at the end of their sermons as well.

Preachers who whoop do so by chanting, singing, repeating words and phrases, and calling a response to bring the people to their feet during a worship service.

Some preachers think they haven't preached unless they whoop. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, preachers should think long and hard about not using the whooping method any longer. That's because spit is emitted from their mouths along with the loud sounds they make. Not only spit but sweat can fly as far as the first rows of pews. So, yes, the coronavirus can be transmitted by whooping.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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    • asujatha profile image

      Sujatha 

      14 months ago from Noida

      Detailed Article which will prove useful to many !!!

    • Cheryl E Preston profile image

      Cheryl E Preston 

      14 months ago from Roanoke

      I guess about all we can do is trust God. Great article you answered a lot of questions.

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