Can you catch coronavirus from farts?


Can you catch the coronavirus through farts?

The unusual question has been addressed by popular physician Dr Norman Swan, and the answer might surprise you.

Speaking on the Coronacast podcast Dr Norman Swan said people should avoid farting near one another to stop the spread of coronavirus. He added it was everyone's responsibility not to pass wind close to another person and "that you don't fart with your bottom bare".

The unusual discussion came after the government revealed on Friday it would be testing local wastewater as part of an ongoing monitoring and early warning system for coronavirus outbreaks.

Coronavirus has been detected in faecal matter.
Coronavirus has been detected in faecal matter.

It's been found that people infected with coronavirus shed fragments of the virus in their faeces and this can be detected in wastewater.

Community wastewater is already tested annually to monitor community drug use, however finding undetected coronavirus outbreaks through new water testing will now be a major focus for the government.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Friday that detecting outbreaks and rapidly responding to them through sewage testing would be a big part of the government's future approach.

"If there's a suburb that hasn't had a case identified but it is in the wastewater stream, then we realise we need to focus on that suburb to find the people," Mr Hunt said.

Responding to the question about farts, Dr Swan said clothing provided some protection from coronavirus, like a mask.

"We wear a mask that covers our farts all the time," Dr Swan said, referring to people's underpants and clothes.

People are also urged to flush the toilet with the lid closed, because of a "toilet plume phenomenon", according to The Conversation.

The action of flushing a toilet causes up to 145,000 aerosolised droplets to be disturbed and thrown around the room, and become suspended in the air for hours, according to the report.

Closing the toilet lid is particularly recommended in public toilets.