Aerosol transmission

Cinemas may only open with a reduced number of seats – due to the risk of corona transmission through aerosols. Now a study shows that the risk of infection can be higher in the open-plan office.

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The appearance of the novel corona virus has also changed the cinematic experience. (Pictured: cinema in Hanover, Germany)

KEYSTONE

Here too - in addition to other measures - it is necessary to keep a distance.  But that obviously pays off, as a study by the Technical University of Berlin shows.  Accordingly, the concentration of aerosols, which play a role in the transmission of corona viruses, is significantly lower in the cinema than in the office.

Here too – in addition to other measures – it is necessary to keep a distance. But that obviously pays off, as a study by the Technical University of Berlin shows. Accordingly, the concentration of aerosols, which play a role in the transmission of corona viruses, is significantly lower in the cinema than in the office.

Screenshot Arena.ch

This is at least the case if there is only breathing and not speaking in the hall.  It is different if there is chatting in the cinema or if several infected people are present.  (In the picture: cinema in pre-corona times)

This is at least the case if there is only breathing and not speaking in the hall. It is different if there is chatting in the cinema or if several infected people are present. (In the picture: cinema in pre-corona times)

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  • The concentration of aerosols, which play a role in the transmission of corona viruses, is significantly lower in the cinema than in the office.
  • The risk of infection is similar only in certain circumstances.
  • This is the conclusion of a study from Germany.

The risk of becoming infected with the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus via aerosols is not the same everywhere, but depends on the circumstances. For example, with the length of stay, the type of room use and ventilation, but also with whether you are talking or just breathing. Because all of this has an impact on the concentration of viruses in the air. This is shown once again by a study, as reported by Today.at.

In this, researchers from the Hermann Rietschel Institute at the Technical University of Berlin compared the infection potential in movie theaters with that in an open-plan office.

Played through different scenarios

Specifically, the scientists examined two halls of the Alhambra cinema in Berlin-Wedding, in which – in normal times – a maximum of 342 and 148 seats can be used. Because of the Corona measures, these are currently only staffed by 85 or 35 people. The office had a total of 16 spaces, of which only 8 can currently be used due to the distance requirement.

The researchers designed various scenarios for all rooms. It was seen in the cinema, what difference it makes, how long a film lasts, whether it is spoken in the hall or the guests are just breathing. The researchers also worked with different numbers of infected people. For the office situation, speaking with an infected person in the room was calculated, as Rbb24.de writes.

Air in the cinema is cleaner

Result: Shut up in the cinema is worth it. Because if only breathing and not speaking in the hall, the number of aerosols – if an infection is assumed – is significantly lower than that in the open-plan office, in which communication is carried out. Even if the film is clearly excessively long. The situation is different when there is chatting in the cinema or several infected people are present. Then the risk of infection is similar to that in the office with an infected person, the researchers report.

The type of ventilation also plays an important role in the cinema. According to reports, both cinemas had so-called source ventilation. The fresh air share was 100 percent. Another advantage: the used air is warmed by the cinema goers, rises and then collects under the covers. “The air in the breathing area of ​​people is therefore cleaner than the air with the same air change in a room with mixed ventilation,” as in the compared office, says Today.at.

Limitations of the study

Despite the clear result: The study is not beyond any doubt, as German media with reference to the German Press Agency wrote: «With all considerations it must be noted that the aerosol concentration in the person’s direct exhaled volume flow is significantly higher and the considerations for this area cannot be applied. » In addition, no statement about the survivability of the viruses in the room air, which depends on temperature and humidity, is allowed.

The study was carried out on behalf of the Hauptverband Deutscher Filmtheater HDF Kino.

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