After an open letter by over 200 scientists accusing the World Health Organisation (WHO) of downplaying the possibility of airborne transmission of novel coronavirus, WHO has now officially acknowledged the ‘evidence emerging’ of the possibility of airborne transmission of the virus.
Admitting the possibility of the novel coronavirus spreading through tiny particles suspended in the air, WHO’s technical lead for infection prevention and control Benedetta Allegranzi put on record that evidence emerging of airborne transmission of novel coronavirus in crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described, cannot be ruled out.
“The possibility of airborne transmission in public settings… cannot be ruled out,” Prof. Benedetta Allegranzi, WHO technical lead, says about COVID-19. https://t.co/Th3vW7M8kn
“There is some evidence emerging, but is not definitive.” pic.twitter.com/MqqzRUeiAb
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) July 7, 2020
This is in sharp contrast to WHO’s stand regarding the spread of COVID-19. It had so far maintained that the infection spreads through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person that quickly sinks to the ground.
In their open letter to WHO on Monday, 239 scientists from 32 countries outlined evidence to show that floating virus particles could infect people who breathe them in. Allegranzi says that the “emerging evidence” is “not definitive” and evidence needs to be gathered and interpreted.
If the airborne transmission theory is indeed vetted by WHO, it could change the current norms of maintaining 1 metre or 3.3 feet of social distancing and even make it mandatory for people to procure N-95 masks to prevent the chances of aerosol induced infection.
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