UK Ministers are ‘privately worried Covid-19 is spreading through farting’
UK Ministers are reportedly fretting in private over the possibility Covid-19 is being spread via farting.
The virus is primarily found in the respiratory system and spreads through coughing and sneezing – but it’s not the first time alternative routes have been looked into.
Now it appears figures at the very top of government are taking the threat of flatulence-based transmission seriously.
One unnamed minister told The Telegraph they had seen ‘credible-looking stuff on it’ from other countries, including evidence of a ‘genomical-linked tracing connection between two individuals from a [lavatory] cubicle in Australia’.
Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said the Prime Minister is not aware of the concerns but that he ‘keeps the latest scientific evidence under review’.
The facts are by no means settled on flatulence and Covid-19 – but the theory isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound.
A September 2020 study published by experts at an Indian university reviewed the evidence surrounding alternative transmission routes and pointed out that ‘farts do have the tendency to carry micro-particles which have the capacity to spread bacteria’.
They also pointed to a Chinese study which lent credence to the possibility but noted with relief that ‘pants do act as a hindrance in the transmission of disease via flatulence’.
Commuters wearing masks because of the coronavirus pandemic wait for a tube train at Victoria Underground Station in central London.
‘Scientists are always looking at how Covid-19 can spread, especially in crowded indoor spaces.
It has long been known that Covid-19 can be detected in fecal matter and urine, even in people who are infected but don’t have symptoms.
Infected people ‘shed’ the virus, including when they go to the toilet.
Virologists have looked into the possibility it could be spread in public bathrooms when an infected person flushes and creates a ‘toilet plume’, a sudden dispersal of micro-particles present in the bowl.
Experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that the risk is probably ‘negligible’ but said a ‘flush and rush’ strategy is ‘probably the best strategy in any public restroom at any time, pandemic or not’.