Hundreds of scientists from 32 countries have sent an open letter to the World Health Organization urging the agency to revise its COVID-19 recommendations citing evidence that shows the coronavirus is airborne.
First reported by The New York Times, the shocking claim translates that the novel coronavirus is capable of infecting people through the air, without prolonged physical contact, which is the present most-established fact on the virus.
According to WHO regulations, the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China primarily spreads through contact with the respiratory droplets of an infected person while coughing, sneezing, or talking. This means people can avert getting infected by practicing social distancing and using masks as personal protective equipment to shield oneself.
In simple terms, an airborne disease means one can contact the same just by breathing. It must be noted airborne transmission and droplet transmission of a virus is not the same. The former means the virus is capable of spreading through particles smaller than the diameter of droplets according to WHO.
The open letter from 239 scientists from 32 countries outlined evidence that the novel coronavirus is capable of spreading through smaller particles in the air, making it potentially airborne. The scientists backing the claim plan to publish the letter in a science journal soon, according to reports.
The current WHO recommendation on COVID-19 and its airborne possibility state: “airborne transmission may be possible in specific circumstances and settings in which procedures or support treatments that generate aerosols are performed.”
The WHO initially did not respond to Reuters for comments but later wrote in an email: “We are aware of the article and are reviewing its contents with our technical experts.” WHO has debunked the claim as unconvincing.
“Especially in the last couple of months, we have been stating several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence,” Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, technical lead of infection prevention and control at WHO, was quoted as saying by the NYT.
According to The New York Times, scientists said the virus is capable of spreading through the air, whether by large droplets zooming through the air after a sneeze, cough or by inhaling smaller particles that float in the adjacent air.
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