We all know the coughing or sneezing spreads germs, that’s how we get colds and the flu every year. That spread occurs because coughing or sneezing projects high velocity droplets full of viruses from our nose and throat into the air around us. That’s why we are told to cough into our elbows and wash our hands frequently prior to Covid-19.
Then the advent of the coronavirus pandemic led to the research finding that not only coughing and sneezing, but simply talking drives aerosolized viruses into the air. That’s one of the biggest reasons for the recommendation that everyone wear a mask and stay six feet part. Now it looks like not all talking leads to the same amount of droplets in the air. Instead, it could depend on which language the speaker is using.
One of the first hints that there might be a difference in how viruses spread based on language came from observations made in China. Remarkably, this happened not during the Covid-19 pandemic, but during the first SARS outbreak with the SARS-CoV-1in South China. That virus led to over 8,000 cases, recorded in 26 countries.