Christian Yates, a mathematical biologist at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, has found that all of the viral particles that cause COVID-19 could fit into a standard soda can.
According to an article published by Yates in Conversation, he used global rates of new COVID-19 cases as well as estimates of viral load in his calculations. As a result, the scientist found that there are about two quintillions (or 2 billion billion billion) SARS-CoV-2 virus particles in the world at one time.
Yates noted that although the number of particles is very large and approximately equal to the number of grains of sand on the planet, their size is incredibly small: the radius of one viral particle is about a thousand times smaller than the radius of a human hair, and the diameter is 100 nanometers.
Having found out the volume of a viral particle, the scientist multiplied it by the number of particles, as a result, he got the total volume of simultaneously existing particles in the world – 120 milliliters. Yates took into account that the particles are spherical in shape, so there would be an empty space between them, but even then the total volume would be only 160 milliliters and “would not fill a Coke can.”
“It’s amazing that all the problems, disruptions, hardships, and loss of life that have occurred over the past year can cause just a few sips of what would surely be the worst drink in history,” Yates concluded.