The latest coronavirus casualty may be leaf blowers.
Croton-on-Hudson, a community north of New York City, took to social media earlier this week to tell its residents that the village’s manager issued an executive order banning the use of leaf blowers “of any kind” amid the coronavirus outbreak.
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According to the statement from the village, residents there are not just searching for peace and quiet during their time hunkered down at home, some are concerned that– besides kicking up leaves and dirt– leaf blowers could also spread coronavirus particles.
“At the April 6th Regular Board Meeting, the Village Board discussed banning leaf blowers under the Manager’s state of emergency. There is concern that the use of leaf blowers may be contributing to the spread of the virus although there is no scientific proof of this,” the statement read.
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The New York Times reported that other suburban towns across the U.S. have called for similar bans, largely over the noise pollution. The paper pointed out that — though scientists are still discovering new details about the virus– the virus seems to be most contagious in close quarters and with someone infected.
“Blowing all this stuff in the air,” Ken Wray, the mayor of nearby Sleepy Hollow, told the Times. “It’s just completely not necessary to do that. Sometime around 20 years ago, guys stopped blow-drying their hair, and started blow-drying their lawns.”
It is widely known that coronavirus spreads through small droplets. These droplets can live in the air for hours and also on some surfaces for days. Health officials have warned that social distancing is key in preventing disease transmission and said six feet distance appears to be the magic number.
But there are some theories that the virus could travel farther than previously thought, especially outdoors where there is wind and other environmental factors.
“People infected with a virus can exhale small aerosol particles that do not settle out within 6 feet,” Kim Prather, an atmospheric chemist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said, according to CBS San Francisco. She said these particles “can float around for hours.”
“Right now, there is a large fraction of people that are infected and do not have symptoms. So if they are surfing or running along the beach, they could be exhaling tiny infectious aerosol particles.”
Some cities in California now require face masks.