Dolphin installation in Discovery Cove (Orlando, USA) | Photo: Michael Lowin (Mlowin), license: CC BY-SA 2.0 DE

Aerosol physicist: The risk of infection outdoors is 0!

Published on the 20.02.2021.

The statements made by aerosol physicist Gerhard Scheuch regarding the coronavirus give many people hope that at least outdoor activities will be enabled again – including zoos.

» to the article & video

Note: Dr. Gerhard Scheuch is a recognised aerosol expert and was, among other things, president of the International Society for Aerosols in medicine. He has also explained that the use of a mask outside is not necessary. For months, and also in this video, he has described the virus as an “indo0r problem”. This may be troublesome for aquariums as they are mostly indoors, however, the Oceanogràfic de València is a true beacon of hope for these institutions. The famous Spanish aquarium has been open for months, proving that even zoological institutions that are predominantly indoors can open safely. Here too, there was no outbreak, super spreading event, or hotspot.

The question regarding the extent to which aerosols even play a part is still scientifically disputed. The medical journal Ärzteblatt explained this already in the summer. The problem is that the data obtained does not fit the thesis. Viruses that are transmitted primarily through aerosols usually have a much higher reproduction number. The R0 of measles, for instance, is 18, whilst that of the coronavirus before safety measures was only 2,5. In addition, the rate of infection for doctors who unknowingly treated Covid-19 patients was only around 3% and thus comparatively low. In the case of aerosol-based transmission, these would have to be higher, as treatments occur indoors and with close contact. Escaping aerosols in these conditions would be practically impossible.

Undoubtedly, the statement that zoos and aquariums around the world are proving that opening safely is possible – even in this crisis – is substantial. It is problematic that politicians are ignoring these empirical values and data and demanding that zoos and aquariums remain closed all the same.

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