WHO reviewing guidance over airborne spread of coronavirus
July 7, 2020 - The World Health Organisation is reviewing evidence from more than 200 scientists who warn that microscopic particles of coronavirus can hang in the air for long periods of time, and spread for tens of metres.
The WHO says SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, spreads mainly through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person that quickly sink to the ground, according to Reuters.
But in an open letter to the Geneva-based agency, published on Monday in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined evidence that they say shows floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in.
Because those smaller particles can linger in the air, the scientists are urging WHO to update its guidance.
How frequently the coronavirus can spread by the airborne or aerosol route - as opposed to by larger droplets in coughs and sneezes - is not clear.
Any change in the WHO’s assessment of risk of transmission could affect its current advice on keeping 1-metre (3.3 feet) of physical distancing. Governments, which rely on the agency for guidance policy, may also have to adjust public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, Reuters said.