WHO for long has dismissed the possibility of the virus being airborne. Except for certain risky measures, the agency said the virus transfers surface to surface. However, in an open letter published this week, more than 200 scientists have cited studies that show ”beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are released during exhalation, talking and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air.”
The researchers urged different health organizations across the world including WHO to prompt more stringent preventive measures.
In a now changed stance, WHO on Thursday evaluated the studies around COVID-19 and accepted that the virus could be airborne. “Studies of outbreaks in restaurants, choir practices, and fitness classes suggest the virus might have been spread in the air,” an official said.
Airborne spread “particularly in specific indoor locations, such as crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a prolonged period of time with infected persons cannot be ruled out,” WHO said.
Still, officials also pointed out that other modes of transmission, like contaminated surfaces or close contacts between people in such indoor environments, might also have explained the disease’s spread.
WHO has repeatedly maintained that such airborne transmissions are “rare” despite growing calls of scientists all across the world. Scientists have termed asymptomatic spread as a large account of virus transmission.
The UN agency has further said that it’s researching whether SARS-CoV2 may also spread through aerosol-generating procedures.
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