A group of worldwide scientists who say there is evidence that the CCP virus can be spread through airborne transmission have called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to revise its recommendations on the virus, which causes the respiratory disease COVID-19.
"We are studying all of these articles that are coming out everyday and still there are not enough evidence at this moment to specifically say that it is already airborne", Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told ANC.
The WHO has long held that the virus is spread primarily by large respiratory droplets that, once expelled by infected people in coughs and sneezes, fall quickly to the floor. Directly coming into contact with respiratory droplets is now considered the most frequent mode of transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO. For airborne transmission to occur, these particles have to stay in the air and remain infectious over time. As such, the United Nations agency has "not judged the existing evidence sufficiently convincing to consider airborne transmission as having an important role in COVID-19 spread". It is called "It Is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19". "This is one in a series of many miscues", says Dr. Eric Topol, director and founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. Public health agencies, scientists, and media outlets have been vocal about the higher risk of infection that crowded indoor environments like bars pose for months now; avoiding those scenarios would be smart, regardless of whether the virus spreads via larger droplets or tiny aerosols. This suggests even if the virus can be spread by the airborne route, it's not likely to be a major route of transmission.
For one, doctors in Wuhan were aware the virus could spread between humans as early as the beginning of December, with patients falling ill despite having had no exposure to the wet market.
Martin McKee, a professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who was not linked to the letter, said the scientists' arguments sounded "entirely reasonable". Viral aerosol functions much the same way, she says. Droplets are spread most commonly through coughing or sneezing but can also be passed on if people come into contact with an infected surface.
"WHO's credibility is being undermined through a steady drip-drip of confusing messages, including asymptomatic spread, the use of masks, and now airborne transmission", Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University who provides technical assistance to the WHO, told the Washington Post.
McKee noted with the UK's recent reopening of its pubs, restaurants and salons, the possibility of airborne coronavirus transmission might mean stricter interventions are needed indoors, including more mask-wearing and continued physical distancing.
When reached for comment, the Public Health Agency of Canada said it couldn't immediately respond to the National Post 's questions on airborne transmission. As per a new theory, the virus may be in the air too.