COVID-19 particles float and travel longer in high winds as variants evolve

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – COVID-19 variants are getting better at traveling through the air. This is according to a new study published by researchers at the University of Maryland. Scientists found the alpha variant specifically is gaining speed when an infected person exhales.

The strain disperses 43 to 100 times more coronavirus particles compared to the original. This would suggest that windy weather could work in COVID-19’s favor by allowing the infection to be carried farther and linger longer in the air resulting in a greater risk of infection when outdoors in breezy weather. However, it’s actually the opposite.

“I think the risk of that is incredibly low, Dr. Christopher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, told News 8. “Certainly, the open air with wind blowing or airflow and that nature will disperse the aerosols to a point where the risk would be pretty close to zero.”

Doehring goes on to explain that even though the virus is evolving to float and travel longer in high winds, the wind would offset any danger by scattering the particles so they break apart. 

However, the authors only compared the alpha variant with the original virus. More research is needed to determine if these findings also apply to the delta variant.