Can coronavirus spread through air? There is a mounting claim now that Coronavirus remains airborne indoors and infect those nearby.
Can coronavirus spread through air? There is a mounting claim now that Coronavirus remains airborne indoors and infect those nearby. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has resisted such claims. According to a report by NYT, hundreds of scientists have said that there is evidence that smaller coronavirus particles in the air can infect people. They have called for the World Health Organization to revise recommendations.
WHO maintains that coronavirus spreads mainly from person to person through small droplets from nose or mouth. These droplets are expelled when a COVID-19 patient coughs, sneezes or speaks.
The NYT report said that 239 scientists from 32 countries have written an open letter, outlining the evidence which shows smaller particles in the air can infect people. Not just through the large droplets that go in the air when a COVID-infected person sneezes, Coronavirus can cover the length of a room in much smaller exhaled droplets and infect another person when inhaled.
A report by Reuters said that the WHO didn’t respond to its request for comment on the NYT report.
The report quoted Dr Benedetta Allegranzi, technical lead of WHO’s infection prevention and control, as saying that the health agency has been considering for the last couple of months that airborne transmission of coronavirus is possible but it was not supported by “solid or even clear evidence”.
The containment strategy in India, or elsewhere, may need to be changed if it is proven that Coronavirus can spread through airborne transmission. Also, wearing high-quality N95 masks may become a necessity even while staying indoors.
As per WHO’s currently applicable guidelines, the use of medical masks should be reserved for healthcare workers. It says persons with symptoms should wear a medical mask while all persons should avoid a group of people and enclosed private spaces. It also prescribes maintaining a physical distance of at least 1 metre from another person. Performing hand hygiene frequently is also prescribed.
Total number of coronavirus cases worldwide is over 1.1 crore while in India, it is near 7 lakh.