Is COVID-19 airborne?

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covid-19

As we all know that the World Health Organization has resisted pieces of evidence, mounting that viral particles floating indoors are one of the reasons for spread infectious yet deadlier virus, but 239 Experts claiming only one thing – The Coronavirus is airborne

That’s why some scientists are saying the research that the agency maintains is still inconclusive.

The coronavirus is contacting new victims globally. We are witnessing frightening clusters of infection in bars, offices, restaurants, markets, casinos, and where not, confirming the fact that the virus lingers in the air, infecting those nearby.

If airborne transmission is significant for this pandemic, especially spaces with poor ventilation, the consequences would be non-favorable to the containment policies and efforts.

The only way to deal with such a scenario is to use masks in all those indoor settings, even in socially-distant settings, where COVID-19 patients are treating or living.

For health care workers, N95 masks are essential to filter out even the smallest respiratory droplets as they are closer to coronavirus patients.

Talking about inadequate, old ventilation systems in residences, schools, nursing homes, businesses, etc., they all need to be replaced or repaired to minimize recirculating air and, if necessary, add powerful new filters to them.

Do you know, ultraviolet lights are also useful in killing viral particles floating in tiny droplets indoors?

According to the World Health Organization, coronavirus spreads primarily by large respiratory droplets that, when expelled by infected people (via coughs and sneezes), fall quickly to the floor or nearby surfaces.

But in an open letter to the W.H.O., 239 scientists located in 32 countries have outlined that smaller particles stay in the air and can infect people; their claim are supported with evidence, calling for the agency to revise its recommendations.

The latest updates issued by the W.H.O., released on June 29, that airborne transmission of the virus is possible only in the case of medical procedures that produce aerosols or droplets smaller than 5 microns.

In such circumstances, proper ventilation and N95 masks are highly recommended. According to Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, the W.H.O.’s technical lead said that the evidence for the virus spreading by air is unconvincing.

She said, “Especially in the last couple of months, we have been stating several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence. There is a strong debate on this.”

But interviewing 20 scientists — including some W.H.O. consultants and several committee members that crafted the guidance — and some internal emails painting a picture of an organization that, despite having good intentions, is out of step with science.

According to these experts, whether carried alone by large droplets, zooming through the air after a sneeze, or by smaller droplets exhaled may glide the length of a room. According to these experts, the coronavirus is borne through the air, and it’s highly likely that they infect people when inhaled.

In April, a group of 36 experts on air quality and aerosols also urged that the W.H.O. to consider the growing evidence on airborne transmission of the virus, even the meeting was also held but was dominated by a few experts who are staunch supporters of hand washing, and that’s why the committee’s advice remained unchanged.

Some other doctors, including Dr. Morawska, also pointed to several incidents, indicating airborne transmission of the virus, especially in poorly ventilated and crowded indoor settings.

But one thing is for sure that experts all agree that the coronavirus, though being one of the viral diseases, does not behave that way; Dr. Marr and others believed that the coronavirus could be most infectious only when people are in prolonged contacts, and at close range, especially indoors, and more so in superspreaders events.

Dr. Paul Hunter, a member of the University of East Anglia in Britain, also agreed with the fact that Aerosols play a limited role in spreading the virus.

Even Don Milton, an aerosol expert at the University of Maryland, said, “‘We’re not going to say what we think, because we think you can’t deal with it?’ I don’t think that’s right”.

Conclusively, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the W.H.O.’s chief scientist, said that agency is trying to evaluate new scientific evidences as fast as it can. Still, they cannot afford to sacrifice the quality of their review/s. She also added that the agency would broaden the committees’ expertise and communications.

She added, “We take it seriously when journalists or scientists or anyone challenges us and say we can do better than this. We want to do better.”

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