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Can Runners Give You COVID-19? A Tyee Video

QUICK WATCH: What you need to know to be safe around others. And how one professor’s research blew up into a global controversy.

Tyee Staff 1 May

Bert Blocken thought tweeting a 40-second video on his research into how runners and cyclists could spread COVID-19 would contribute to “a better society.”

Then the attacks started.

Blocken is an engineering professor in the Netherlands who has been studying droplet movement in air flow for 20 years. Colleagues and friends had been asking about exercising during the pandemic, he says, so he decided to look at the question.

The results, reported in a striking video, found that the recommended two-metre separation was inadequate for runners and the people around them.

Respiratory droplets, which can spread COVID-19, could trail 10 metres behind runners, he reported, and five metres behind people walking. Much greater distancing is needed.

It seemed unsurprising to him, and some other researchers.

But then came the “media explosion” and “people actually fighting over this Twitter post.”

What happened? Why did a research project spark public and scientific controversy?

This short video helps answer those questions.

And it could help you decide how closely to follow another runner or cyclist, or how much space to give when you pass walkers on your evening run.

This video is the third in a series of pandemic-related videos in partnership with Vancouver’s Avo Media team of Jesse Lupini, Koby Michaels and Lucas Kavanagh.

Stay tuned for more. And let us know what you think in the comments.

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Read more: Health, Coronavirus

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