WHO now acknowledges evidence of airborne in Covid-19 spread

Reuters / Twitter

The World Health Organization on Tuesday acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people.

“We recognise that evidence is emerging in this area and therefore we need to be open to this possibility and its implications, as well as the precautions that need to be taken,” said Benedetta Allegranzi, a WHO official, at a virtual press conference.

The WHO has previously said the virus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease spreads primarily through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person that quickly sink to the ground.

Until now, the official view of Covid-19 transmission supports two methods: droplets of saliva from an infected person, produced during coughing or sneezing, which are then inhaled by someone else in the vicinity; and particles picked up from surfaces contaminated by such droplets, and then introduced to eyes, nose or mouth by someone else.

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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.

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