German super-spreader: can spread as far as 8 meters away

“The new crown virus can spread to 8 meters away!” German TV 1 reported on the 26th that more than 2,100 people have been diagnosed with new crown pneumonia after a cluster outbreak in the Tunnes Group, Germany’s largest meat factory, in June. The research results recently released by the Helmholtz Institute for Infectious Diseases, the Hamburg University School of Medicine, and the Leibniz Institute of Experimental Virology show that an employee codenamed “B1” was the victim of this large-scale cluster epidemic. Virus “super spreader”.

Scientists analyzed and studied the workers’ workplace and infection chain based on the virus sequence. The results showed that “B1” and his colleague “B2” may be the “super spreaders” of the clustered epidemic in Tunnes. However, during the investigation, it was found that the virus carried by “B2” had mutations in its spread, so it was determined that “B1” employees were “super spreaders.”

In May of this year, “B1” working in the beef cutting department transmitted the virus to colleagues around him. This “super spreader” can even transmit the virus to people 8 meters away. At that time, 147 colleagues worked with him in the morning shift of the beef cutting department, and these people were all infected within a few days. They all work in fixed positions in a 32-meter long and 8.5-meter wide hall.

Studies believe that factory working conditions play a key role in large-scale spread, and the air-conditioning cycle system is the main reason for the spread of the virus. The air conditioning system blows cold air into the hall and distributes it through fans. The air conditioning also effectively circulates the air in the production workshop. In addition, the workshop is a low temperature area of ​​10°C, and workers have to perform high-intensity manual labor. Increased breathing also increases the risk of infection. “In this case, simply maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters to 3 meters is obviously not enough to prevent the spread of the virus.” Experts said.

The researchers also emphasized that the living conditions of factory workers have little to do with the outbreak. After the outbreak, the Tunnes Group also conducted a self-examination. A spokesperson for the group said that although workers in different working areas did not gather to work together, the jobs in the factory were very close to each other. Workers also meet in the corridors and activity rooms when they go to work.

Now, the group has improved the factory’s air-conditioning circulation system, and strengthened workers’ epidemic prevention measures and inspection efforts. The group restarted some operations a week ago. This is by far the largest corporate cluster infection in Germany and even the world.