On Thursday, the World Health Organization issued new guidance on the spread of the novel coronavirus, which acknowledges some reports of airborne virus transmission that causes COVID-19 but stopped short of stating that the virus spreads through the air. In its new advice on transmission, the WHO noted that certain outbreak studies relating to crowded indoor spaces have indicated the risk of transmission of aerosols, such as during choral rehearsal, in restaurants or exercise classes.
Based on its analysis of the current data, the WHO said the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 to spread among people through direct or indirect contact with contaminated surfaces or near contact with infected individuals who spread the virus through saliva, respiratory secretions or droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. The report follows an open letter from scientists specializing in the spread of airborne disease-so-called aerobiologists-urging the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease spreads to include transmission of aerosols.
It is not clear how often the coronavirus spreads through the airborne or aerosol route. It is as opposed to larger droplets in coughs and sneezes.
Few Diseases Transmit Via Aerosols
So, it is believed that only a very small number of diseases are transmitted via aerosols, or small, floating particles. These include measles and tuberculosis-two diseases that are highly contagious and require extreme measures to protect exposure. WHO guidance acknowledges that novel coronavirus airborne transmission can occur during specific aerosol-generating medical procedures, such as while performing intubation.
They advise medical workers performing these procedures in these circumstances. It is to wear heavy-duty N95 respiratory masks. Also, other protective equipment in an adequately ventilated space. Any change in the WHO’s transmission risk assessment could affect its current advice. It is on maintaining a physical distance of 1 meter (3.3 ft). Governments, which often depend on the agency for guidance. It will often need to change public health policies designed to curb the virus’ spread.