Over two hundred experts and scientists located all over the world have written an open letter last Monday to public health bodies, such as the World Health Organization. In the letter, these scientists argue that there is significant proof that the coronavirus can actually remain in the air and even infect people through airborne particles, from person to person. The letter was published in the academic journal Clinical Infectious Diseases on Monday, and it advocates for additional preventive measures implemented to prevent this particular route of transmission. The letter was signed by 239 researchers, stemming from 32 different countries.
This open letter was initially reported in the Los Angeles Times and in the New York Times on Saturday. In their articles, the news organizations stated that the WHO is an organization that has not caught up with the science on the matter. While their claim does have a point, the science has not yet been settled on the debate regarding the airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus. Whether you can get COVID-19 from airborne particles remains a puzzle that has not yet been solved.
Babak Javid, an infectious diseases physician affiliated with the Tsinghua School of Medicine, explained that it is probable that airborne transmission for SARS-CoV-2 is a thing, occasionally. He also added, however, that it is not clear how common it is for the transmission to occur.
The official guidance of the WHO on the situation is that the novel coronavirus goes from person to person through some small respiratory droplets that get out of one’s body whenever a person infected with COVID-19 sneezes, coughs or speaks. The lucky part is that these droplets are way too heavy to go for long distances, as they quickly drop to the surface. Social distancing is thus essential to flattening the curb.