The WHO has now acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the novel coronavirus being airborne. Previously the WHO had said the virus spreads primarily through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person. However, 239 scientists in 32 countries presented evidence proving that floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in. The exhaled particles can linger in the air. The open letter from the scientists to the WHO, was published on Monday in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.
Jose Jimenez, a chemist at the University of Colorado, said, “This is definitely not an attack on the WHO. He added,” …….we felt we needed to go public because they were refusing to hear the evidence after many conversations with them.”
The Daily Maverick reports that Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical head of infection prevention and control, said there was evidence emerging of airborne transmission of the coronavirus, but that it was not definitive. She said that the possibility of airborne transmission could not be ruled out in very specific conditions: settings that were crowded, closed, and poorly ventilated.
Meanwhile, Jimenez said that a key concern has been a fear of panic, “If people hear ‘airborne’, healthcare workers will refuse to go to the hospital, or people will buy up all the highly protective N95 respirator masks, and there will be none left for developing countries.” He said the WHO panel assessing the evidence on airborne transmission lacked representation from experts in aerosol transmission.
Governments, might now have to adjust public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, based on the expected new guidance from the WHO.
Umm Muhammed Umar