At the climax of my story, most of the people on the planet have the way they interact with gravity magically altered. Until a week passes or they die (whichever comes first), instead of being pulled towards the planet, they get pushed perpendicular to it, falling west instead of down, while everything else on the planet is affected by gravity like normal.
I'm trying to find out what exactly would happen to anyone unfortunate enough to fall from a high height into this bizarre horizontal abyss, as I'm thinking that's going to happen a lot in this story, and I'm going to have to discuss the morbid fate of these people and their corpses, which I suspect might be a frequent sight for the survivors, a least in the cities.
One thing that immediately stuck out to me from what I remember of physics is that, with no force pulling them back to Earth, but the centrifugal force of constantly being pushed perpendicular to it pushing them away, eventually, if they lived long enough, they would start "falling" into a higher and higher "orbit" around the planet until they were out in space. However, the issue is that they stop falling sideways when they die, and I'm not entirely sure when that would be. I've heard conflicting accounts as to when, or even if, the act of being in free-fall alone would be lethal.
Suppose, in this situation, that someone fell sideways out of an open/broken window on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building. At what point would they die, what would kill them, and what would then happen to the body?