This may seem silly but doctors have discovered that the coronavirus can spread through farts. That is unless the infected person is wearing pants.
No, we’re not joking. It’s a well-established fact that farts contain tiny particles of poop. In fact, it can be said that any time you smell a fart you’re inhaling that person’s poop. And since people’s excrements contain plenty of bacteria, farts aren’t completely harmless.
Doctor Andy Tagg from Australia has cited tests carried out this year that showed ~55% of Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2 patients have the virus present in their poop.
As Dr. Tagg puts it “Well, SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in faeces and has been detected in an asymptomatic individual up to 17 days post-exposure.”
Farts have also been shown to travel long distances through talcum powder, Dr. Tagg added.
The topic was brought to people’s attention when TV doctor Xand Van Tulleken from CBBC’s Operation Ouch series started sharing it on social media. He called Dr. Tagg’s work “an enjoyable thread about whether farting can cause coronavirus” and it is one of the more lighthearted news about Covid-19, all things considered.
What makes this topic not-so-horrible isn’t just the potential for fart jokes but also the fact that simply wearing pants appears to be a good enough protection against the spread of the disease.
“It all started with an enquiry from a nurse,” Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki shares at the beginning of the report. “She wanted to know whether she was contaminating the operating theatre she worked in by quietly farting in the sterile environment during operations, and I realised that I didn’t know. But I was determined to find out.”
During the experiment, participants were asked to “pass wind” directly into petri dishes from a distance of ~2 inches (~5 cm) both with and without pants. The result showed clearly that the first petri dish that was “blown into” with pants contained no bacteria while the other one did.
An announcement from China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this year also addressed the situation and confirmed that while the coronavirus is present in most patients’ excrements and farts, simply wearing underwear and pants blocks the spread of the virus the way a face mask blocks the spread of respiratory droplets.
Still, passing gas with no pants or underwear in the presence of someone who’s not infected could be dangerous as fart particles can travel quite freely through the air.
Dr. Tagg also added that “Perhaps SARS-CoV-2 can be spread through the power of parping – we need more evidence. So remember to wear appropriate PPE at all times and stay safe!”