Cold viruses seem to typically have incubation periods of 3 days, but from a mechanical point of view, I wonder how this is possible?
For example, if we read this viral assay protocol document: https://www.virapur.com/protocols/Virus%20Plaque%20Assay%20Protocol.pdf we can see that when a viral plaque is grown, then the plaque becomes visible in "5-7 days". So, since viruses have reproductive cycle of 6 hours, then that would be about 24 generations. Presumably each generation can only infect cells immediately adjacent to the infected cells since viruses cannot move on their own. So, the virus spreads in rings emanating outwards from the initial innoculation site.
If the visible plaque is 4mm in diameter, then we presume each generation is growing by 4mm/24 = 0.17mm which in itself is kind of suprising because a cell is only about 0.005mm in diameter, so the virions would seem to be simultaneously spreading by 0.17/0.005 = 34 layers of cells per generation. It is hard to see how they could do that without moving in some way. Maybe diffusion of some kind is occurring?
In any case, from geometrical standpoint I don't understand how a viral plaque in the wild could spread fast enough in only 3 days given what we see in the lab.