Hundreds of scientists reportedly claim WHO is downplaying risk of airborne spread of coronavirus
- 06 July 2020
A group of 239 scientists from 32 different countries are reportedly preparing to publish an open letter to the World Health Organization in the coming days, urging the United Nations health agency to update its recommendations for the coronavirus, APA reports citing The New York Times.
The group of scientists argue that the WHO needs to give more weight to the role of the airborne spread of Covid-19.
The experts are expected to publish the letter and findings that support their view in the Clinical Infectious Diseases medical journal this week.
It appears to contradict previous evidence that the virus is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the nose or mouth. These are expelled when a person with the infection coughs, sneezes or speaks.
The WHO’s current guidance states that the coronavirus is transmitted primarily between people via these respiratory droplets and contact. The health agency has said this is why it is important to stay at least one meter away from others and wash your hands regularly, or clean with an alcohol-based hand rub.
However, the group of scientists will reportedly outline evidence that indicates smaller particles — which can travel much greater distances — can also infect people.
A spokesperson for WHO told CNBC on Monday it was aware of the reported open letter and technical experts at the organization were currently reviewing its contents. It is “likely” the report will be covered at the group’s regular press briefing on Monday, the spokesperson added.
The WHO has previously said it continually assesses “ongoing research on the ways that Covid-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.”