A GIF About How A Virus Can Spread On A Plane Is Freaking Everyone Out

Germs can spread a lot further than passengers might realize.

A growing number of airlines are requiring passengers to wear masks during flights. And a GIF in a Washington Post story shows why.

The startling animation reveals how droplets released by one coughing passenger ― and potentially containing virus ― can disperse to those seated nearby:

An analysis of a 2003 flight with a passenger infected with SARS found the risk of infection was highest in the same row and up to three rows ahead, but two people seven rows away were also infected as well as two flight attendants.

The newspaper reported that researchers were working on ways to limit the spread of germs inside aircraft, but work done now would come too late for the current situation.

“It’s come a little too soon for us,” David J. Brenner of Columbia’s Center for Radiological Research, who is working on using ultraviolet light as a potential germ-killer in airplane cabins, airports, hospitals and schools, said. “If it had come at this time next year, we’d be in a good position to fight it.”

The Post report also examined other methods that could make flying less germy, including changes to the ventilation system and other design alterations. However, it was the accompanying GIF that received the most attention on social media:

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