A stunning visualization produced by the Spanish newspaper El País is built off a scientific model that predicts how the virus transmits through aerosols.

Scientists now know that the coronavirus can transmit in the air through particles called aerosols that an infected person breathes out. These tiny particles, which can remain suspended in the air for hours, pose a high risk of infecting people in indoor spaces. But how risky is it, exactly, to spend time with people inside—a consideration many are weighing as the weather starts to turn?

A new visualization created by graphics journalist Mariano Zafra and published by the Spanish newspaper El País examines three common indoor situations, and shows how the virus can spread through the air if someone in the room has COVID-19. It’s based a model called the Estimator—created by University of Colorado Boulder chemistry professor Jose-Luis Jimenez—which approximates how coronavirus-containing aerosols move around indoor spaces. The visualization provides a stunning look at how infection risk drops when certain mitigating tactics are used.


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