WHO Clarifies “No Airborne Transmission” for COVID-19 Yet

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Following up rumors, A WHO official has quoted that the current evidence on the novel COVID-19 does not prove that the virus has reached airborne capacity, just yet. In the past few days, as the viability of the virus grew rampant, many believed that the reason for the sudden increase in the number of infected was due to the mutation of the virus strain reaching airborne capacity. However, WHO clarifies that the primary cause of the novel COVID-19 still remains to be “respiratory droplets and contact routes” – from sneezing and coughing – and does not seem to linger in the air.

However, the WHO guideline which was made public on Friday has met with sharp criticism regarding the facts by certain virus transmission experts Dr. Hanan Balkhy, assistant director-general for antimicrobial resistance at WHO quoted on All Things Considered on Monday about the organization’s guidelines. Here is a small excerpt from the article.

  • How much evidence do you need to persuade the WHO to rethink or update or think differently about the transmission of COVID-19?

 “We don’t need to be persuaded but we need to have the evidence that it actually is being spread through a specific route that we’re not seeing right now. Let me give you a simple example. We have hospitals that have worked on developing units for COVID patients. And those patients have coughing, sneezing, in ICUs, they’re scoping them. If we were to have airborne transmission, we would see cases with no contact before getting ill with that disease.”

  • Until we have solid evidence otherwise, past similar coronaviruses and what evidence we do have thus far points to it being mostly spread by droplets, not airborne. 

“Yes, absolutely. We do believe that the WHO has to give guidance to the globe. And I want to reemphasize the situation of the scenarios where you need to do a risk assessment where you would apply airborne isolation because you have specific high-risk areas in your facility that does not allow for proper cleaning, proper hygiene.” The latest number for the infected cases for the global stage has crossed 780,000 at the time of writing.

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