The smell may be hell but the mist could leave you pissed.
Two Australian doctors are weighing in about the spread of the coronavirus “down under” — whether it can be spread through farts, that is.
During Friday’s episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Coronacast,” podcast, producer and host Dr. Norman Swan made a cautionary suggestion when it comes to particles of feces set adrift within a fart and the spread of COVID-19.
“No bare-bottom farting,” Swan advised about posterior pandemic panic, in a measured, mildly amused tone.
“Luckily, we wear a mask, which covers our farts all the time,” Swan said, referring to the protective aspects of pants, shorts, dresses, underwear and other garments. “I think that what we should do in terms of social distancing and being safe is that … you don’t fart close to other people, and that you don’t fart with your bottom bare.”
Meanwhile, Australian emergency physician Dr. Andy Tagg also floated the question via Twitter, asking, “So, can the bottom-based emissions of someone with coronavirus be silent and deadly?”
Tagg pondered whether flatulence itself is an “aerosol-generating procedure.” (His determination: yes.) A recent study, in fact, suggested a post-flush toilet plume could even be cause for concern when it comes to spreading the coronavirus via “aerosolized feces.” Plus, scientists have confirmed that fecal-oral transmission itself is an issue due to the presence of the virus in poop that is why health officials in Oregon and New York have even cautioned against oral contact with feces during sex.
Unfortunately, as Tagg observed, there is “not a great deal of research” available to come to a firm conclusion about the perils of passing COVID-19 while passing gas.
That’s all backed up by Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, a Mount Sinai South Nassau epidemiologist and professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
“Studies have clearly shown that a significant percentage of COVID-19 patients do have GI [gastrointestinal] symptoms (alone, or in combination with respiratory or other general symptoms) at the time of illness presentation,” Glatt told The Post via email.
“However, there are no published data on whether flatulence alone presents any risk of transmission, although in a clothed person, it would be unlikely to be a significant route of transmission,” he said.
Where does that leave us? Tagg, co-founder of the medical education site Don’t Forget the Bubbles, suggests not throwing caution to the, um, wind. He instead proposes keeping your pants on and considering them part of your personal protection equipment, just in case.
“Perhaps SARS-CoV-2 can be spread [through] the power of parping — we need more evidence,” he tweeted, adding, “So remember to wear appropriate PPE at all times and stay safe!”