We may soon witness the death of yet another beloved American pastime to coronavirus: sharing all our passing thoughts at an unnecessarily loud and obnoxious volume. According to new research, speaking quietly — as opposed to screaming — significantly lowers the rate of virus transmission. Someone alert Kimberly Guilfoyle.
The findings, as reported by The Atlantic, build on existing knowledge surrounding coronavirus transmission: that the virus mainly spreads through respiratory droplets and aerosols, and that standing in close proximity to an infected person significantly increases your chances of contracting the virus.
But according to multiple studies, reported by Atlantic writer Derek Thompson, our proclivity for yelling in each other’s faces could prove to be an obstacle in our fight to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. One study shows that talking quietly reduces virus transmission by 80 percent, and staying silent curtails the production of infected respiratory droplets by 98 percent. One scientist told Thompson that speaking quietly could be as effective at reducing transmission as properly wearing a mask.
“Every route of viral transmission would go down if we talked less, or talked less loudly, in public spaces,” Jose L. Jimenez, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder who has studied the subject, told The Atlantic. (That said, there does seem to be some evidence that talking loudly while wearing a mask isn’t a problem. Amid the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, studies found zero evidence that the demonstrations — where people loudly chanted, but in most cases, wore masks — caused spikes in coronavirus cases.)
But clearly, it would benefit us all to lower the decibel of our voices, or better yet, shut up altogether. For inspiration, let us look to Japanese theme parks, which have been doling out poetic, applicable advice to roller-coaster riders. Instead of shrieking out loud, the parks have urged guests to “scream inside your heart.” No one has to give up screaming altogether; you simply have to keep it within.