The World Health Organization is now saying COVID-19 might be spread in the air after 239 scientists urged the agency to say so in an open letter.
“Outside of medical facilities, some outbreak reports related to indoor crowded spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, combined with droplet transmission, for example, during choir practice, in restaurants or in fitness classes. In these events, short-range aerosol transmission, particularly in specific indoor locations, such as crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a prolonged period of time with infected persons cannot be ruled out.” the WHO said in a newly revised modes of transmission document.
The scientists’ open letter was expected to be published in the coming days, prior to the announcement. Prior to the announcement, the WHO has remained largely dismissive of the possibility COVID-19 can spread through the air.
In March, a team of scientists found COVID-19 RNA strands in indoor areas with poor ventilation, including waiting rooms and porter potties in China.
Two scientists from the U.S. and Australia published a letter this week saying “beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are released during exhalation, talking and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air.”
The new development means those with masks not sealed could become susceptible to COVID-19 in areas like schools, which are being pushed by President Trump to reopen this fall.