The World Health Organization said Tuesday it has been looking into the possibility that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted by air, after global scientists urged the WHO to revise its guidelines for the virus.
China also reportedly stalled for two weeks before providing World Health Organization with data on patients and cases, costing valuable time when the virus could have arguably been more effectively slowed or contained. "Healthcare workers may need N95 masks that filter out even the smallest respiratory droplets as they care for coronavirus patients", according to the New York Times.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization issued a new brief acknowledging that the coronavirus can spread via airborne transmission indoors, after previously emphasizing that droplets people forcefully expel through sneezing or coughing are prime spreaders. However, they thought these measures are insufficient to protect people from the virus floating on air through respiratory microdroplets emitted by infected people.
And the spread of COVID-19 is showing no signs of slowing in the worst-affected countries - the US, Brazil and India.
The WHO said the advance team would be in Beijing for the weekend as they lay the ground for a wider mission aimed at identifying how the virus entered the human species.
"Aerosol transmission is one of the modes of transmission that we have been concerned about since the beginning, particularly in healthcare settings. where we know these droplets can be aerosolised - which means can stay in the air longer", she said.
US coronavirus cases rise to over 59000, setting single-day record
Just over 60,000 new cases were reported in 24 hours on Tuesday, up from the last record of 53,600 infections set last Thursday. Over the past month and into July, Florida saw roughly 959 deaths and Texas reported 1,097 deaths related to COVID-19.
"Current evidence suggests that transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurs primarily between people through direct, indirect, or close contact with infected people through infected secretions such as saliva and respiratory secretions, or through their respiratory droplets, which are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or sings", the United Nations health agency said in its brief.
"However, the evidence needs to be gathered and interpreted, and we continue to support this".
Although aerosols may have some contributions toward the spread, the amount it contributes to the spread is still subject to further research since it is also still unclear how long the virus lingers in the air, how far it travels, and how commonly it spreads this way.
The WHO responded to increased pressure from scientists and the media that covered their coronavirus airborne transmission claims without actually doing anything to alter its guidelines for fighting the pandemic.
"By recognizing aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and recommending improved ventilation facilities to be upgraded or installed, you can improve the health of people" by eliminating a variety of hazards, including indoor pollutants and allergens, he added. "Secondly, it is going to come at a cost in terms of loss of lives, illness in the community, and prolonged lockdowns", she said. "To be able to see if we can mitigate against that", he said. On Thursday, July 9, 2020, the World Health Organization acknowledged the possibility that covid-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions.