Coronavirus News

COVID-19: Scientists Urges WHO To Revise Recommendations, Says Pandemic Is Airborne

Hundreds of scientists say there is evidence that novel coronavirus in smaller particles in the air can infect people and are calling for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to revise recommendations, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

The WHO has said the coronavirus disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with Covid-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks.

In an open letter to the agency, which the researchers plan to publish in a scientific journal next week; 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined the evidence showing smaller particles can infect people, the NYT said.

The WHO did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Whether carried by large droplets that zoom through the air after a sneeze, or by much smaller exhaled droplets that may glide the length of a room; the coronavirus is borne through air and can infect people when inhaled, the scientists said, according to the NYT.

However, the health agency said the evidence for the virus being airborne was not convincing, according to the NYT.

“Especially in the last couple of months; we have been stating several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible; but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence,” Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead of infection prevention and control, was quoted as saying by the NYT.

Meanwhile, the WHO has updated its account of the early stages of the Covid-19 crisis to say it was alerted by its own office in China; and not by China itself, to the first pneumonia cases in Wuhan.

The United Nations health body has been accused by the United States President Donald Trump of failing to provide the information needed to stem the pandemic; and also of being complacent towards Beijing, charges it denies.

On April 9, the WHO published an initial timeline of its communications; partly in response to criticism of its early response to the outbreak that has now claimed more than 521,000 lives worldwide.

In that chronology, the WHO said only that the Wuhan municipal health commission in the province of Hubei had on Dec 31 reported cases of pneumonia.

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