Talking less, more quietly, or not at all limits the manufacture of both large droplets and aerosols. When you breathe or whisper, your respiratory system doesn’t emit large droplets. Jimenez told me that, compared with yelling, quiet talking reduces aerosols by a factor of five; being completely silent reduces them by a factor of about 50. That means talking quietly, rather than yelling, reduces the risk of viral transmission by a degree comparable to properly wearing a mask.
Somehow, this perfectly captures the current moment in time: to help beat this virus, we’d collectively need to shut the fuck up. Like wearing a mask, this is an incredible simple and effective measure. Yet most of us will predictably not. In a world where it feels you’re constantly being screamed at, being quiet is almost always interpreted as a sign of complacency, acceptance or even weakness.
Effectively, the loudest people expose the most people to the virus, once infected, while the sensible ones are getting increasingly ignored. There’s a parallel in there somewhere.