Mathematician: All the COVID virus in the world could fit in a soda can

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SAN FRANCISCO – JANUARY 16: Cans of Coca-Cola are seen on the shelf at Tower Market January 16, 2004 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – All the COVID-19 virus particles in the world could fit inside a can of soda, according to a British mathematician, demonstrating how much ruin even tiny particles can wreak on the planet. Christian Yates, a senior lecturer in mathematical biology at the University of Bath in England, set out to calculate just how many COVID-19 virus particles are circulating in the world for the BBC and described his process in a piece for the Conversation.

Yates’ calculations led him to estimate that there are 200 million billion virus particles in the world at any given time — a huge number, but given that a single COVID-19 particle is “roughly 1,000 times thinner than a human hair,” the total volume of virus particles in the world is minuscule.

Yates then went on to calculate the volume of a particle, using the equation V=4 π r³/3, and came to the conclusion that the total volume of all particles is about 160 ml — “easily small enough to fit inside about six shot glasses” or a can of soda.

“It’s astonishing to think that all the trouble, the disruption, the hardship and the loss of life that has resulted over the last year could constitute just a few mouthfuls of what would undoubtedly be the worst beverage in history,” Yates writes.

There are more than 107 million COVID-19 infections around the world, according to Johns Hopkins. More than 2.3 million people have died.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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