Coronavirus super-spreader could ‘spark third wave on their own’

Just one infected gym-goer or clubber could spark a third wave of coronavirus and kill hundreds of thousands of people, scientists have warned.

Another mega deadly ripple of cases could be triggered by a single superspreader with a large lung capacity – for instance a large fitness fanatic breathing heavily and pumping out virus-laden droplets in an indoor space.

It comes as mounting evidence reveals that the majority of Covid-19 cases are caused by just 20% of people.

Epidemiologist Dr Craig Dalton said: “There’s this small percentage of people who appear to infect a lot of people.

"If the infected person is a super-spreader then quick contact tracing is especially important."

Gyms and nightclubs could prove to be ticking time-bomb killer incubators, the expert warned, since they are often full of young people – who are more likely to spread the virus.

Assessing who is likely to be a super spreader comes down to biological and environmental factors, including getting a higher dose of the virus to begin with.

It also depends on how many people an infected person comes into contact with.

But certain qualities may red flag someone as a potential risk – for instance a large, sweaty man working out within a gym environment.

Superspreading almost always happens indoors in crowded spaces where face-to-face actions like dancing or kissing happen.

Poor ventilation, shouting or singing within confined spaces should also set alarm bells ringing.

Dr Dalton, of Newcastle University in Australia, said: "The bigger the lungs, the more chance they’ve got to expel more virus out.

"If they are breathing out quickly to rapidly and exercising heavily indoors, they can fill a room with virus so more people can be exposed to an infectious dose because there’s a big viral load in the air.

"They may also expel more droplets, which will travel much further, so more people come within the range of where they can get infected."

Scout leader Steve Walsh was found to be coronavirus "super-spreader" after he picked up the disease at a Singapore conference before bringing it home with him to Hove, East Sussex.

A single super-spreading church goer in South Korea was linked to 5,000 cases. The person, dubbed Patient 31, sparked a wave of infections within people linked to the Shincheonji religious group.

Tory minister Gillian Keegan this week warned nightclubs have little chance of opening until there is an effective way to “deal with coronavirus”. She said people dancing in unpredictable ways could lead to more infections.

It comes as a company trials the first use of walk-through booths which promise to 'kill coronavirus' this weekend.

The NOVID boots blast users with a fog of virus-obliterating mist and if the trials are successful then the arches could be a golden ticket to get fans back into large-scale venues like football stadiums and concert venues.

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