Report: 239 Experts Tell WHO That Coronavirus Is Airborne

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The WHO has long held that the virus is spread primarily by large respiratory droplets that fall quickly to the floor.

According to The New York Times, 239 scientists in 32 countries “have outlined the evidence showing that smaller particles can infect people, and are calling for the agency to revise its recommendations.”

  • Even in its latest update on the coronavirus which was released June 29, the World Health Organization (WHO) said “airborne transmission of the virus is possible only after medical procedures that produce aerosols, or droplets smaller than 5 microns,” The Times wrote.

“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,” said Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead on infection control.

  • However, experts have revealed that “whether carried aloft 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 air and can infect people when inhaled.”

“If we started revisiting airflow, we would have to be prepared to change a lot of what we do,” said Mary-Louise McLaws, a committee member and epidemiologist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. “I think it’s a good idea, a very good idea, but it will cause an enormous shudder through the infection control society.”

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, said agency staff members “were trying to evaluate new scientific evidence as fast as possible, but without sacrificing the quality of their review. She added that the agency will try to broaden the committees’ expertise and communications to make sure everyone is heard,” The Times reported.

“We take it seriously when journalists or scientists or anyone challenges us and say we can do better than this,” Dr. Swaminathan said. “We definitely want to do better.”

Read the full report here.

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