Scientists warn singing ‘Happy Birthday’ could spread deadly coronavirus

Singing "Happy Birthday" could spread coronavirus, a study claims.

The way you pronounce the "Bs" and "Ps" releases large droplets which could be infectious, researchers say.

Scientists in Sweden studied the amount of particles released when people sing in order to understand how it affects the spread of Covid-19.

They found loud and consonant-rich tunes such as the classic birthday tune release a lot of droplets into the air, MailOnline reported.

The study comes months after NHS bosses told Brits to sing 'Happy Birthday' twice when washing their hands.

This is because it is good for timing how long you need to do it, 20 seconds, to help stop the spread of the virus.

Researchers carried out the new study following reports linking outbreaks of Covid-19 to choirs singing together.

The team at Lund University got 12 healthy singers and two people with the virus to sing into a funnel.

They sang a Swedish tune called "Bibbis pippi Petter", which was also repeated with only the vowels left.

The scientists measured how many aerosols and larger droplets were released by using lamps, a high-speed camera and equipment to measure tiny particles.

They found having a lot of consonants in a song is especially risky as it releases more droplets.

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In particular, "B" and "P" sounds – such as in "Happy Birthday" – posed the greatest risk.

And the louder and more powerful the tune, the higher the concentration of aerosols and droplets.

Jakob Löndahl, associate professor of Aerosol Technology, said: “Some droplets are so large that they only move a few decimetres from the mouth before they fall, whereas others are smaller and may continue to hover for minutes.

“In particular, the enunciation of consonants releases very large droplets and the letters B and P stand out as the biggest aerosol spreaders.”

But the experts say face masks, social distancing and good ventilation can slash the risk from singing.

Professor Löndahl said: “When the singers were wearing a simple face mask this caught most of the aerosols and droplets and the levels were comparable with ordinary speech.

“Singing does not need to be silenced, but presently it should be done with appropriate measures to reduce the risk of spreading infection.”

The study was published in the journal Aerosol Science and Technology.

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