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2.
Indoor Air ; 31(6): 1896-1912, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1322740

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to improve understanding of droplet transport during expiratory emissions. While historical emphasis has been placed on violent events such as coughing and sneezing, the recognition of asymptomatic and presymptomatic spread has identified the need to consider other modalities, such as speaking. Accurate prediction of infection risk produced by speaking requires knowledge of both the droplet size distributions that are produced, as well as the expiratory flow fields that transport the droplets into the surroundings. This work demonstrates that the expiratory flow field produced by consonant productions is highly unsteady, exhibiting extremely broad inter- and intra-consonant variability, with mean ejection angles varying from ≈+30° to -30°. Furthermore, implementation of a physical mouth model to quantify the expiratory flow fields for fricative pronunciation of [f] and [θ] demonstrates that flow velocities at the lips are higher than previously predicted, reaching 20-30 m/s, and that the resultant trajectories are unstable. Because both large and small droplet transport are directly influenced by the magnitude and trajectory of the expirated air stream, these findings indicate that prior investigations of the flow dynamics during speech have largely underestimated the fluid penetration distances that can be achieved for particular consonant utterances.


Subject(s)
Aerosols , Air Pollution, Indoor , Mouth/physiology , Speech/physiology , COVID-19 , Humans , Research Subjects , SARS-CoV-2
3.
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0250308, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1206196

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the evidence of aerosol generation across tasks involved in voice and speech assessment and intervention, to inform better management and to reduce transmission risk of such diseases as COVID-19 in healthcare settings and the wider community. DESIGN: Systematic literature review. DATA SOURCES AND ELIGIBILITY: Medline, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, CINAHL, PubMed Central and grey literature through ProQuest, The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, COVID-Evidence and speech pathology national bodies were searched up until August 13th, 2020 for articles examining the aerosol-generating activities in clinical voice and speech assessment and intervention within speech pathology. RESULTS: Of the 8288 results found, 39 studies were included for data extraction and analysis. Included articles were classified into one of three categories: research studies, review articles or clinical guidelines. Data extraction followed appropriate protocols depending on the classification of each article (e.g. PRISMA for review articles). Articles were assessed for risk of bias and certainty of evidence using the GRADE system. Six behaviours were identified as aerosol generating. These were classified into three categories: vegetative acts (coughing, breathing), verbal communication activities of daily living (speaking, loud voicing), and performance-based tasks (singing, sustained phonation). Certainty of evidence ranged from very low to moderate with variation in research design and variables. CONCLUSIONS: This body of literature helped to both identify and categorise the aerosol-generating behaviours involved in speech pathology clinical practice and confirm the low level of evidence throughout the speech pathology literature pertaining to aerosol generation. As many aerosol-generating behaviours are common human behaviours, these findings can be applied across healthcare and community settings. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: Registration number CRD42020186902 with PROSPERO International Prospective Register for Systematic Reviews.


Subject(s)
Aerosols/adverse effects , COVID-19/transmission , Verbal Behavior/physiology , Aerosols/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Cough/physiopathology , Phonation/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Singing/physiology , Speech/physiology , Speech-Language Pathology/methods
4.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(4): e24191, 2021 04 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1143363

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, health professionals have been directly confronted with the suffering of patients and their families. By making them main actors in the management of this health crisis, they have been exposed to various psychosocial risks (stress, trauma, fatigue, etc). Paradoxically, stress-related symptoms are often underreported in this vulnerable population but are potentially detectable through passive monitoring of changes in speech behavior. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to investigate the use of rapid and remote measures of stress levels in health professionals working during the COVID-19 outbreak. This was done through the analysis of participants' speech behavior during a short phone call conversation and, in particular, via positive, negative, and neutral storytelling tasks. METHODS: Speech samples from 89 health care professionals were collected over the phone during positive, negative, and neutral storytelling tasks; various voice features were extracted and compared with classical stress measures via standard questionnaires. Additionally, a regression analysis was performed. RESULTS: Certain speech characteristics correlated with stress levels in both genders; mainly, spectral (ie, formant) features, such as the mel-frequency cepstral coefficient, and prosodic characteristics, such as the fundamental frequency, appeared to be sensitive to stress. Overall, for both male and female participants, using vocal features from the positive tasks for regression yielded the most accurate prediction results of stress scores (mean absolute error 5.31). CONCLUSIONS: Automatic speech analysis could help with early detection of subtle signs of stress in vulnerable populations over the phone. By combining the use of this technology with timely intervention strategies, it could contribute to the prevention of burnout and the development of comorbidities, such as depression or anxiety.


Subject(s)
Anxiety/diagnosis , Burnout, Professional/diagnosis , COVID-19/psychology , Health Personnel/psychology , Speech Acoustics , Speech/physiology , Adult , Anxiety/etiology , Anxiety/psychology , Burnout, Professional/etiology , Burnout, Professional/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Pilot Projects , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Telephone
5.
PLoS One ; 16(2): e0246842, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1099924

ABSTRACT

Face masks are an important tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, it is unclear how different types of masks affect speech recognition in different levels of background noise. To address this, we investigated the effects of four masks (a surgical mask, N95 respirator, and two cloth masks) on recognition of spoken sentences in multi-talker babble. In low levels of background noise, masks had little to no effect, with no more than a 5.5% decrease in mean accuracy compared to a no-mask condition. In high levels of noise, mean accuracy was 2.8-18.2% lower than the no-mask condition, but the surgical mask continued to show no significant difference. The results demonstrate that different types of masks generally yield similar accuracy in low levels of background noise, but differences between masks become more apparent in high levels of noise.


Subject(s)
Auditory Perception/physiology , Masks , Speech Perception/physiology , Adult , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/psychology , COVID-19/transmission , Female , Humans , Language , Male , Masks/adverse effects , N95 Respirators/adverse effects , Noise , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Speech/physiology
6.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 3953, 2021 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087496

ABSTRACT

Contact and inhalation of virions-carrying human aerosols represent the primary transmission pathway for airborne diseases including the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Relative to sneezing and coughing, non-symptomatic aerosol-producing activities such as speaking are highly understudied. The dispersions of aerosols from vocalization by a human subject are hereby quantified using high-speed particle image velocimetry. Syllables of different aerosol production rates were tested and compared to coughing. Results indicate aerosol productions and penetrations are not correlated. E.g. 'ti' and 'ma' have similar production rates but only 'ti' penetrated as far as coughs. All cases exhibited a rapidly penetrating "jet phase" followed by a slow "puff phase." Immediate dilution of aerosols was prevented by vortex ring flow structures that concentrated particles toward the plume-front. A high-fidelity assessment of risks to exposure must account for aerosol production rate, penetration, plume direction and the prevailing air current.


Subject(s)
Aerosols/analysis , COVID-19/transmission , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Speech/physiology , Adult , Aerosols/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Cough , Humans , Male , Particle Size , Rheology/methods , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Sneezing , Verbal Behavior/physiology
7.
J Med Internet Res ; 22(12): e22609, 2020 12 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-965218

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The massive scale of social media platforms requires an automatic solution for detecting hate speech. These automatic solutions will help reduce the need for manual analysis of content. Most previous literature has cast the hate speech detection problem as a supervised text classification task using classical machine learning methods or, more recently, deep learning methods. However, work investigating this problem in Arabic cyberspace is still limited compared to the published work on English text. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to identify hate speech related to the COVID-19 pandemic posted by Twitter users in the Arab region and to discover the main issues discussed in tweets containing hate speech. METHODS: We used the ArCOV-19 dataset, an ongoing collection of Arabic tweets related to COVID-19, starting from January 27, 2020. Tweets were analyzed for hate speech using a pretrained convolutional neural network (CNN) model; each tweet was given a score between 0 and 1, with 1 being the most hateful text. We also used nonnegative matrix factorization to discover the main issues and topics discussed in hate tweets. RESULTS: The analysis of hate speech in Twitter data in the Arab region identified that the number of non-hate tweets greatly exceeded the number of hate tweets, where the percentage of hate tweets among COVID-19 related tweets was 3.2% (11,743/547,554). The analysis also revealed that the majority of hate tweets (8385/11,743, 71.4%) contained a low level of hate based on the score provided by the CNN. This study identified Saudi Arabia as the Arab country from which the most COVID-19 hate tweets originated during the pandemic. Furthermore, we showed that the largest number of hate tweets appeared during the time period of March 1-30, 2020, representing 51.9% of all hate tweets (6095/11,743). Contrary to what was anticipated, in the Arab region, it was found that the spread of COVID-19-related hate speech on Twitter was weakly related with the dissemination of the pandemic based on the Pearson correlation coefficient (r=0.1982, P=.50). The study also identified the commonly discussed topics in hate tweets during the pandemic. Analysis of the 7 extracted topics showed that 6 of the 7 identified topics were related to hate speech against China and Iran. Arab users also discussed topics related to political conflicts in the Arab region during the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic poses serious public health challenges to nations worldwide. During the COVID-19 pandemic, frequent use of social media can contribute to the spread of hate speech. Hate speech on the web can have a negative impact on society, and hate speech may have a direct correlation with real hate crimes, which increases the threat associated with being targeted by hate speech and abusive language. This study is the first to analyze hate speech in the context of Arabic COVID-19-related tweets in the Arab region.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Deep Learning/standards , Hate , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Social Media/standards , Speech/physiology , Humans , Pandemics , Research Design , Saudi Arabia
8.
PLoS One ; 15(10): e0241539, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-895082

ABSTRACT

Particle size is an essential factor when considering the fate and transport of virus-containing droplets expelled by human, because it determines the deposition pattern in the human respiratory system and the evolution of droplets by evaporation and gravitational settling. However, the evolution of virus-containing droplets and the size-dependent viral load have not been studied in detail. The lack of this information leads to uncertainties in understanding the airborne transmission of respiratory diseases, such as the COVID-19. In this study, through a set of differential equations describing the evolution of respiratory droplets and by using the SARS-CoV-2 virus as an example, we investigated the distribution of airborne virus in human expelled particles from coughing and speaking. More specifically, by calculating the vertical distances traveled by the respiratory droplets, we examined the number of viruses that can remain airborne and the size of particles carrying these airborne viruses after different elapsed times. From a single cough, a person with a high viral load in respiratory fluid (2.35 × 109 copies per ml) may generate as many as 1.23 × 105 copies of viruses that can remain airborne after 10 seconds, compared to 386 copies of a normal patient (7.00 × 106 copies per ml). Masking, however, can effectively block around 94% of the viruses that may otherwise remain airborne after 10 seconds. Our study found that no clear size boundary exists between particles that can settle and can remain airborne. The results from this study challenge the conventional understanding of disease transmission routes through airborne and droplet mechanisms. We suggest that a complete understanding of the respiratory droplet evolution is essential and needed to identify the transmission mechanisms of respiratory diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Models, Biological , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Aerosols , Air Microbiology , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/transmission , Cough/physiopathology , Cough/virology , Humans , Models, Statistical , Monte Carlo Method , Particle Size , Speech/physiology , Viral Load/methods
9.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(41): 25237-25245, 2020 10 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-797251

ABSTRACT

Many scientific reports document that asymptomatic and presymptomatic individuals contribute to the spread of COVID-19, probably during conversations in social interactions. Droplet emission occurs during speech, yet few studies document the flow to provide the transport mechanism. This lack of understanding prevents informed public health guidance for risk reduction and mitigation strategies, e.g., the "6-foot rule." Here we analyze flows during breathing and speaking, including phonetic features, using orders-of-magnitude estimates, numerical simulations, and laboratory experiments. We document the spatiotemporal structure of the expelled airflow. Phonetic characteristics of plosive sounds like "P" lead to enhanced directed transport, including jet-like flows that entrain the surrounding air. We highlight three distinct temporal scaling laws for the transport distance of exhaled material including 1) transport over a short distance (<0.5 m) in a fraction of a second, with large angular variations due to the complexity of speech; 2) a longer distance, ∼1 m, where directed transport is driven by individual vortical puffs corresponding to plosive sounds; and 3) a distance out to about 2 m, or even farther, where sequential plosives in a sentence, corresponding effectively to a train of puffs, create conical, jet-like flows. The latter dictates the long-time transport in a conversation. We believe that this work will inform thinking about the role of ventilation, aerosol transport in disease transmission for humans and other animals, and yield a better understanding of linguistic aerodynamics, i.e., aerophonetics.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Infections , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Speech/physiology , Aerosols , Air Movements , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Pandemics/prevention & control , Phonetics , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Respiration , SARS-CoV-2 , Ventilation
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