News - The Emerging Evidence - "Droplet" And "Airborne" Transmission
As the battle against the pandemic rages on, the World Health Organisation (WHO) have acknowledged that there is now evidence emerging that the Coronavirus may spread through airborne transmission, not just droplet.
Initially, the WHO said transmission was via droplet transmission, when a person coughs or sneezes, however over 200 scientists have now signed an open letter accusing the WHO of underestimating the possibility of airborne transmission. The change in transmission method may change the course of future guidelines and preventative measures.
Professor Benjamin Cowling of Hong Kong University - told the BBC the finding had "important implications".
"In healthcare settings, if aerosol transmission poses a risk then we understand healthcare workers should really be wearing the best possible preventive equipment... and actually the World Health Organization said that one of the reasons they were not keen to talk about aerosol transmission of Covid-19 is because there's not a sufficient number of these kind of specialised masks for many parts of the world," he said.
"And in the community, if we're thinking about aerosol transmission being a particular risk, then we need to think about how to prevent larger super spreading events, larger outbreaks and those occur in indoor environments with poor ventilation, with crowding and with prolonged close contact."
Airborne transmission is transmission via much smaller particles that can stay in the air for hours after being released when a person speaks or breathes out, allowing them to travel further and spreading infection over a wider area. Droplet transmission is when a cough or a sneeze spreads the infection through saliva and mucus expulsion.