A man on a bus talking on his mobile phone
A masked man talks on his cell phone on a public bus
Photo: Shutterstock
A masked man talks on his cell phone on a public bus

Cell phone chats could boost virus spread, health official warns

Shouting, speaking loudly, singing, physical exertion increase the reach of droplets that cause the disease, with experts calling for special care during winter when more people are indoors for extended periods

Alexandra Lukash |
Published: 11.12.20 , 17:46
An Israeli health expert has warned that talking on cell phones in an enclosed area could increase the infection of COVID-19.
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  • Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, an epidemiological expert from Ben-Gurion University told Ynet on Thursday that he would caution against speaking on a cell phone indoors, even while wearing a mask, unless there was a two-meter distance from other people.
    A man on a bus talking on his mobile phone A man on a bus talking on his mobile phone
    A masked man talks on his cell phone on a public bus
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    "We must learn to behave differently," Davidovitch said.
    "Speaking, shouting and eating all increase the risk of contamination when indoors where people remain for an extended period of time," Davidovitch said.
    "Droplets can travel further than two meters and winter is a critical time with more people spending more time indoors."
    מירי רגב  ובצלאל סמוטריץ'מירי רגב  ובצלאל סמוטריץ'
    Members of Knesset shouting during a heated debate last month
    (Photo: Knesset Channel )
    "Unfortunately, there is not enough thought given to adapting enclosed spaces to this new reality. There must be an investment in modifying schools and other public buildings," Davidovitch said.
    The professor also referred to a study in Nature Magazine this week in which researchers correlated data from cell phones to determine where infections occurred in great numbers.
    The study identified crowded indoor venues as locations of superspreader events, where many people are infected at one time.
    The article also found that low-income populations are more susceptible to infection as they have fewer options to shop in stores that are not overcrowded.
    אנשים קונים בסופרמרקטאנשים קונים בסופרמרקט
    Israelis shop in a busy supermarket during the coronavirus pandemic
    (Photo: Dana Kopel)
    The Center for Knowledge and Information in the Health Ministry has also warned of increased contagion in enclosed spaces and recommended refraining from face-to-face conversations, using mobile phones on public transport and shouting in meetings, conferences and classrooms.
    Singing is also discouraged, according to health officials, as it constitutes physical activity indoors and accelerates the spread of droplets.
    They also point out the danger of incorrectly using masks and extended stays in rooms with poor ventilation.
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