Coronavirus is now claimed to spread through the air or airborne. If air is an important role in Corona virus transmission, then health protocols that have been applied such as wearing masks and keeping a distance are not enough to withstand the spread of the Corona virus.
Quoted from the New York Times, in an open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) 239 scientists in 32 countries, have outlined evidence showing that the Corona virus has smaller particles and can infect humans, experts also urged WHO to revise its recommendations. The researchers plan to publish their letter in a scientific journal next week.
In its latest update on the Corona virus, released June 29, WHO said transmission of the Corona virus through the air was only possible if droplets or sparks that came out when coughing and sneezing were smaller than 5 microns. Benedetta Allegranzi, WHO technical leader on infection control said evidence of the Corona virus spreading through the air was inconclusive.
“Especially in the last few months, we have stated several times that we consider air transmission to be possible, but of course it is not supported by strong or even clear evidence. There is a strong debate about this,” said Allegranzi.
However, experts say the WHO infection prevention and control committee is bound by rigid and overly medical views of scientific evidence, is slow, and is not willing to take risks in updating its guidelines and accepting some conservative votes to raise dissent. “They will die defending their views,” said a WHO consultant who did not want to be identified because he continued to work for WHO.
Other experts also supported WHO to relax the evidentiary criteria for the study findings. Especially in a plague that moves very fast.
“I am really frustrated about the problem of airborne spread and particle size, of course,” said Mary-Louise McLaws, committee member and epidemiologist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
“If we start reviewing the flow of air, we must be prepared to change many of the things we do,” Mary said.
In early April, a group of experts researching air quality issues urged WHO to consider growing evidence of airborne Corona virus transmission. The agency responded immediately, calling on Lidia Morawska, the group leader and WHO consultant, to arrange a meeting. But the discussion that took place according to some participants did not change the committee’s recommendations in the recommendation for the transmission of the Corona virus by air.
Dr Morawska and others point to several incidents that indicate transmission of the virus through the air, especially in poorly ventilated enclosed spaces. They said the WHO made a ‘artificial’ difference between small aerosols and larger sparks, even though people were said to be infected because of both.
“We have known since 1946 that coughing and talking produce aerosols,” said Linsey Marr, an expert in airborne virus transmission at Virginia Tech.
Scientists have not been able to prove the Corona virus spreads through the air in the laboratory. However, that does not mean the role of air in the transmission of the Corona virus is meaningless.
“Most of the samples in the trial came from hospital rooms with good air flow which would weaken the level of the virus. In most buildings,” said Dr. Marr.
WHO believes that airborne pathogens such as the measles virus, must be highly contagious, and the virus can travel long distances.
“People generally think and talk about airborne virus transmission very stupidly,” said Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s THH School of Public Health.
“We have the notion that transmission through the air means droplets or sparks stay in the air and can infect someone hours later, survive on the streets, spread to homes everywhere,” said Dr Hanage.
All experts agree that the Corona virus does not spread like that. Dr Marr and others say that the Corona virus appears to be most contagious when people are in close contact for long periods of time, especially indoors, and even more infectious if spread events occur such as super spreader cases.
WHO had previously found itself at odds with a group of scientists more than once during the Corona pandemic. WHO lags behind most of the countries that already support face masks for use during Corona outbreaks. While other organizations, including the CDC, have long recognized the importance of transmission by asymptomatic people, WHO still believes that asymptomatic transmission is rare.
While many experts also say that WHO must embrace what are called some precautionary principles. “There is no irrefutable evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is traveling or transmitted significantly by aerosol, but there is absolutely no evidence that it is not,” said Dr Trish Greenhalgh, a primary care doctor at Oxford University in England.
“Those who may be frustrated may not realize how the WHO expert committee works,” said Dr. McLaws. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist, said agency staff members tried to evaluate new scientific evidence as quickly as possible, but without compromising the quality of their reviews.
McLaws added that the agency would try to expand the committee’s expertise and communication to ensure all findings related to Corona were heard. “We take it seriously when journalists or scientists or whoever challenges us and say we can do better than this. We definitely want to do better,” McLaws said.