The ongoing respiratory COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted the social and private lives of the majority of the global population. This infection is primarily transmitted via virus-laden fluid particles (i.e., droplets and aerosols) that are formed in the respiratory tract of infected individuals and expelled from the mouth in the course of breathing, talking, coughing, and sneezing. To mitigate the risk of virus transmission, in many places of the world, the public has been asked or even obliged to use face covers. It is plausible that in the years ahead we will see the use of face masks, face shields and respirators become a normal practice in our life. However, wearing face covers is uncomfortable in some situations, like, for example, in summer heat, while staying on beaches or at hotel swimming pools, doing exercises in gyms, etc. Also, most types of face cover become contaminated with time and need to be periodically replaced or disinfected. These nuisances are caused by the fact that face covers are based on material barriers, which prevent inward and outward propagation of aerosol and droplets containing the pathogen. Here, we study a non-material based protection barrier created by a flow of well directed down stream of air across the front of the open face. The protection is driven by dragging virus-laden particles inside the width of the air flow and hence, as a consequence, displacing them away from their primary trajectories. Applying well established gas-particle flow formalism, we analyzed the dynamics of aerosols and droplets at different regimes of the flow laying over the bodies of the fluid particles. The analysis allowed us to establish the rates of velocity gain of the fluid particles of dimensions relevant for the pathogen transmissions, while they are crossing the width of the air barrier. On the basis of this analysis, we provide a comprehensive study of the protection effectiveness of the air barrier for a susceptible individual located indoor, in an infected environment. Our study shows that such, potentially portable, air curtains can effectively provide both inward and outward protection and serve as an effective personal protective equipment (PPE) mitigating human to human transmission of virus infection like COVID-19.
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