Health

‘The Coronavirus is airborne’ claims 239 experts in open letter to WHO

Washington: Amid the rise of coronavirus cases, in a big claim 239 scientists in 32 countries have written an open letter to the World Health Organization, outlining evidence showing that smaller airborne particles containing the virus can infect people, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

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, these experts said, the coronavirus is borne through air and can infect people when inhaled, reported The New York Times.

The scientists now plan to publish their findings in a journal this week.

The recent claim by the experts have no contradicted previous evidence which said that the virus transmitted from person to person through droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with the disease coughs, sneezes or speaks.

WHO has so far emphasised that the virus can spread through the air only in case of medical procedures that produce aerosols, or droplets smaller than five microns. The global health body has instead promoted frequent hand washing as a means to keep the virus away, though the probability of the contagion spreading through surfaces is very low.

If airborne transmission is a significant factor in the pandemic, especially in crowded spaces with poor ventilation, the consequences for containment will be significant, NYT reported. Masks may be needed indoors, even in socially distant settings. Health care workers may need N95 masks that filter out even the smallest respiratory droplets as they care for coronavirus patients, it said.

Ventilation systems in schools, nursing homes, residences and businesses may need to minimise recirculating air and add powerful new filters. Ultraviolet lights may be needed to kill particles floating indoors.

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