A recent study by researchers at Yangzhou University in China claims the novel coronavirus can survive in the human digestive tract and appear in faeces of the infected.
The study, published Tuesday in the journal Physics of Fluids, used computer models to simulate water and air flows in a flushing toilet and the resulting droplet cloud. This, scientists often refer to as “toilet plume aerosol”.
According to the study, turbulence from a toilet bowl caused by flushing can blow aerosol droplets that are potentially infectious to the next person who uses the washroom after an infected person to up to three feet.
“Flushing will lift the virus up from the toilet bowl,” said Ji-Xiang Wang, co-author of the paper and is known known for researching about fluids at Yangzhou University.
Mr. Wang further says, people “need to close the lid first and then trigger the flushing process.”
“One can foresee that the velocity will be even higher when a toilet is used frequently, such as in the case of a family toilet during a busy time or a public toilet serving a densely populated area,” Mr. Wang said.
While it remains unknown whether public or shared toilets are a common point of transmission of the virus, the research highlights the need during a pandemic to rethink some of the common spaces people share.