How the 'garlic breath test' can tell you if you're likely to catch Covid

USING a "garlic breath test" can help you establish how likely you are to catch Covid-19, one expert has claimed.

Since the start of the pandemic the government has urged people to remember the "hands, face, space" motto.

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The slogan was deployed to billboards and television adverts with the hope that people would continue to wash their hands, cover their face with a mask or covering, and adhere to social distancing measures.

On March 29 the government changed its messaging to "hands, face, space, fresh air", as it urged people to not gather inside.

Consultant virologist at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, Dr Julian Tang has penned a study urging governments and health leaders to "focus their efforts on airborne transmission". 

Speaking to Sky News this morning, he said the government's messaging should focuse on "space, space, hands".

He said: "The way this virus transmits is really through conversational distance, within one metre.

"When you're talking to a friend or sharing the same air as you're listening to your friend talking, we call it the garlic-breath distance.

"So if you can smell your friend's lunch you're inhaling some of that air as well as any virus that's inhaled with it.

"And this is why we say that masking is fine, social distancing is fine, but the indoor airborne environment needs to be improved and that can be done with ventilation."

Dr Tang said ventilation needed to be improved across all settings, and that there are simple steps people can take to make sure enough air is passing through the space they are in.

The government had previously launched a campaign, urging Brits to keep their properties ventilated by opening windows and vents when other people were in the house.

Research shows that being in a room with fresh air can reduce your risk of infection from particles by over 70 per cent, as fresh air dilutes the particles.

The Department of Health recommends opening windows for short sharp bursts of 10-15 minutes throughout the day.

Dr Tang said: "If you think about it, if you burn your toast in the kitchen, if you open the windows and doors, the back door, it clears very quickly.

"So you keep the windows open even halfway most of the time, then you can improve that ventilation rate in the indoor area and that reduces the overall airborne concentration that you can actually then reduce the risk of transmission from."

This he explained, needs to be in addition to what people are doing with social distancing and mask wearing.

He said that if you're in a position where you can't wear a mask and you can't maintain social distancing then ventilation is even more important.

Dr Tang did admit that improving ventilation in hospitality venues wouldn't be an "overnight thing".

Earlier this week non-essential shops, gyms and hospitality reopened.

Pubs and restaurants can only serve people outside in order to stop transmission of the virus.

But large queues were seen outside many pubs, with social distancing not always being possible.

Dr Tang said: "Improving infrastructure and buildings is a very difficult thing and it costs money."


He also stated that Covid-19 could become a seasonal virus and added that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been correct when he claimed earlier this week that lockdown measures had done the bulk of the work when it comes to driving infection rates down.

He agreed that lockdown measures, rather than vaccines had been the main driver, but said the rollout of jabs had been encourgaing.

Dr Tang added: "We'll see that impact once you start to open up indoor spaces.

"If one in two people have antibodies, that immune barrier will reduce that spread of the virus in the indoor environment where the ventilation is poorer and where people are closer together unmasked and talking and breathing the same air."

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