Scientists who simulated toilet water and air flows say, in a new research study, that aerosol droplets forced upward by flushing seem to extend wide enough and linger long enough for be inhaled.
For all our paranoia on the surface of toilet seats – the tissue paper we oh-so carefully deposit, the thin blankets available in the stands – contact with the germ skin of transmission is a relatively limited risk compared to what happens when flushing. It is when the bits of fecal material swish around so violently that they can be propelled into the air, become an aerosol, and then deposit on its surroundings.
The new coronavirus has been found in the feces of covid-19 patients, but it remains unknown whether these clouds can contain enough virus to infect someone. Experts say we can minimize this risk fairly easily, first and foremost, by closing the lid.