LivingThe coronavirus is not spread through the air, confirms...

The coronavirus is not spread through the air, confirms the WHO

This is contemplated in the latest report of the World Health Organization entitled “Modes of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19” , where it clarifies how the virus is transmitted and how it does not, through the air and other means , although some experts suggest that it is possible and it is recommended that doctors and nurses take precautions.

So far we know that for the transmission of the virus to take place, the infected person must be one meter away from another and cough or sneeze. This does pose a risk of contagion. In addition, the new coronavirus can also be spread by touching a surface that has previously been touched by a patient infected with the virus or by touching tools or objects that the patient has used, such as a thermometer.

The WHO explains that airborne transmission occurs when microbes are present within the droplet nuclei, which can remain in the air for long periods of time and with the possibility of being transmitted at a distance greater than one meter and, therefore , infect others. But this organization insists that there is little scientific evidence of its airway transmission except in very specific cases during hospital treatments such as endotracheal intubation, bronchoscopy, manual ventilation before intubation or when tracheostomy or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is performed, among others.

“FACT: # COVID19 is NOT in the air,” the WHO stated in a tweet. “The #coronavirus is transmitted mainly through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.”

Contradictory study

However, a study by more than a dozen health experts working closely with the Rocky Mountain Laboratories of the US National Institute of Health found that “aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is plausible, as the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours . “

The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, exposes that the virus could have spread through the air at a Washington state church ( Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church) where a choir rehearsal in early March was considered. as the cause of a fatal coronavirus outbreak, says Jamie Lloyd-Smith, a UCLA professor and infectious disease researcher.

Another study from early March in Singapore also suggested “that virus-laden droplets can be displaced by air flows and deposited on equipment such as vents. And a non-peer-reviewed study from China stated that the intensive care unit, coronary / cardiac care unit, and general patient rooms in one Wuhan hospital and the patient room within another “had a concentration of SARS- CoV-2 not detectable in air. “

WHO reaffirms its position

Still, the WHO insists that there is insufficient evidence to show that COVID-19 is transmissible as an airborne pathogen. In fact, the organization has questioned the US study, stating that the experiment used “a high-powered machine that does not reflect normal human cough conditions.” In addition, although that study pointed to the appearance of the coronavirus in aerosol particles for up to three hours, this does not reflect a clinical environment where aerosols are produced, says the WHO.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also noted that “the contribution of small respirable particles, sometimes called aerosols or droplet nuclei, to proximity transmission is currently uncertain .”

The WHO reiterates the -vital- recommendations for the general population to wash their hands frequently, cough into the elbow, not touch their eyes, nose or mouth, regularly disinfect the environment, keep a distance of at least one meter from other people and avoid unprotected contact with people with fever or other respiratory symptoms.


Not everyone agrees

A prestigious scientific panel told the White House this week that research shows that the coronavirus could be transmitted not only by sneezing or coughing, but also by talking or even breathing.

“While current specific research on coronavirus is limited, the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of the virus by normal respiration, ” according to the letter, written by Dr. Harvey Fineberg, chairman of a committee of the National Academy of Sciences.

When public health officials say there is insufficient evidence to say that COVID-19 is spread through the air, they specifically mean being transported in virus-laden aerosols less than 5 micrometers in diameter. Compared to droplets, aerosols can stay in the air longer and travel much more.

Most transmission occurs at close range, Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong, tells Nature. But the distinction between droplets and aerosols is not useful because “the particles that come out with the virus can have a wide range of sizes,” he says. And if SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted in aerosols, the virus particles may accumulate over time in enclosed spaces or be transmitted over long distances.


Do we wear masks?

Experts say that there is no reason to wear surgical masks , as long as a screen that prevents the spread of contagion is used, it is enough. A cloth mask, a scarf, a balaclava, a scarf …

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the virus is transmitted from person to person when individuals are within 2 meters of each other “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. “

How long the coronavirus remains in the air depends on several factors, including the amount of virus that an infected individual emits when breathing or talking, and also the amount of circulation in the air, according to the expert.


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