239 Scientists Claim Coronavirus Is Airborne, Ask WHO To Revise Recommendations

The claim contradicts WHO's statements that the coronavirus disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth.

India   |   6 July 2020 11:56 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-07-07T08:45:58+05:30
Writer : Palak Agrawal | Editor : Prateek Gautam | Creatives : Abhishek M
239 Scientists Claim Coronavirus Is Airborne, Ask WHO To Revise Recommendations

Image Credits: Wikimedia

Hundreds of scientists have said that there is enough evidence to suggest that the novel coronavirus in smaller particles in the air can infect people. The scientists have pointed out the possibility of airborne transmission and have called for the World Health Organization (WHO) to revise recommendations.

In an open letter to the WHO, 239 scientists in 32 countries have outlined the evidence showing smaller particles can infect people, reported the New York Times reported on Saturday, July 4.

Airborne diseases are where the pathogenic microbes (disease-causing virus or bacteria) which are small enough to be discharged from an infected person while coughing, sneezing, laughing and close personal contact or aerosolization of the microbe. The discharged microbes remain suspended in the air on dust particles and can travel and spread through the air.

The claim contradicts WHO's statements that the coronavirus disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.

The global health body has promoted frequent hand washing as a means to keep the virus away, though the probability of the contagion spreading through surfaces is very low. According to these claims, revised recommendations of precautionary measures become the need of the hour.

According to the international publication, the scientists said that whether carried by large droplets that zoom through the air after a sneeze, or by much smaller exhaled droplets that may glide the length of a room, the coronavirus is borne through the air and can infect people when inhaled.

However, the health agency said the evidence for the virus being airborne was not convincing.

"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, the WHO's technical lead of infection prevention and control, was quoted by the NYT.

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Palak Agrawal

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