Airborne transmission of COVID-19, a distinct possibility: After WHO, CSIR seconds it

With COVID-19 numbers surging exponentially across the globe and the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicating emerging evidence of its airborne spread, it is now the head of India’s premier R&D body, the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), who has also called it a ‘distinct possibility’.

Shekhar C Mande, Chief of CSIR, in a blog post, referred to findings of various studies and stated, “All these emerging evidences and arguments suggest that indeed airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is a distinct possibility.”

He also wrote that the way out is to maintain sufficient social distancing and wearing masks. “The answers are intuitively very straightforward – avoid large crowded gatherings, keep enclosed places like workplaces well ventilated, and most importantly, continue wearing masks even in enclosed spaces.”

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Earlier, the WHO had come under the radar after almost 230 scientists from 32 countries had written an open letter to them, stating that COVID-19 can be airborne.

Taking the same debate ahead, Mande said that the primary route of infection can be understood to be through inhalation.

“It is well known that when people sneeze or cough, they release droplets in the air… The larger droplets readily settle on surfaces, whereas smaller droplets or the droplet nuclei remain suspended in the atmosphere for a longer duration. The larger droplets formed by an infected individual during coughing, sneezing, talking or singing, therefore, do not travel far. They settle down quickly. However, the smaller droplets can remain suspended in the air for a considerable duration,” he said.

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