The evidence that the coronavirus spreads through the air has been mounting for months. However, the official guidance from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control is still that droplets are the main route of transmission. In fact, the CDC changed its website last month to acknowledge airborne transmission as a route for covid-19 infections but removed the new guidance just days later, saying it had been posted in error. An official told CNN that it "wasn't ready to be posted." Back in July, a group of 239 experts sent an open letter to the WHO imploring it to acknowledge airborne transmission.
Over 200 scientists have called for the world to take more precautions against the airborne transmission of the coronavirus. While the virus is known to spread through the air via large droplets produced when people cough or sneeze, they say it can also be spread by smaller droplets known as aerosols that can linger in the air. Preventing this means ventilating buildings and avoiding overcrowding. "Hand-washing and social distancing are appropriate, but, in our view, insufficient to provide protection from virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets released into the air by infected people," states a letter written by Lidia Morawska at Queensland University of Technology in Australia. It has been signed by 239 researchers.
Six months into a pandemic that has killed more than half a million people around the world, it seems it may be time to update what we know about how COVID-19 is transmitted. A group of 239 scientists will publish an open letter this week calling on the World Health Organization to take into account that airborne transmission is a significant factor in how COVID-19 spreads. A group made up of more than 200 scientists say the WHO is being too reluctant to update the official view on transmission that downplays the risk of airborne transmission. If the organization does update its view, the implications would be huge and would require a major adjustment to existing efforts to contain the virus. The WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to claim that when it comes to COVID-19, the general public has to worry about two types of transmission.
The World Health Organization on Thursday released new guidelines on the transmission of the novel coronavirus that acknowledge some reports of airborne transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19, but stopped short of confirming that the virus spreads through the air. In its latest transmission guidance, the WHO acknowledged that some outbreak reports related to indoor crowded spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, such as during choir practice, in restaurants or in fitness classes. But the WHO said more research is "urgently needed to investigate such instances and assess their significance for transmission of COVID-19." The report follows an open letter from scientists who specialize in the spread of disease in the air -- so-called aerobiologists -- that urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease spreads to include aerosol transmission. Based on its review of the evidence, the WHO said the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads through contact with contaminated surfaces or close contact with infected people who spread the virus through saliva, respiratory secretions or droplets released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. The new guidelines do, however, suggest people should avoid crowds and ensure good ventilation in buildings, in addition to social distancing, and encourage masks when physical distancing is not possible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday again revised its coronavirus guidance to acknowledge the potential for infection through virus-laden particles lingering in the air in enclosed areas with poor ventilation. The updated guidance comes two weeks after the CDC issued a correction on its website, saying a draft of proposed changes, including guidance on airborne transmission of coronavirus, was posted in error. According to the Monday update, the main route of transmission is believed to be prolonged close contact with an infected individual, however the agency confirmed that infections have occurred through airborne transmission. The CDC confirmed that infections have occurred through airborne transmission. CDC DELETES CORONAVIRUS AIRBORNE TRANSMISSION GUIDANCE, SAYS UPDATE WAS'DRAFT VERSION' "When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe they produce respiratory droplets. These droplets can range in size from larger droplets (some of which are visible) to smaller droplets. Small droplets can also form particles when they dry very quickly in the airstream," the CDC wrote.