Researchers warn of possible airborne coronavirus transmission

While the pandemic has killed more than 536,000 people worldwide, dozens of scientists have urged the WHO to acknowledge the accumulation of evidence of an airborne spread of coronavirus. They therefore recommended strong ventilation of public indoor spaces.

More than 230 international researchers warned in a letter, Monday, July 6, about “flight transmission of Covid-19”, suspension of viral particles in the air, and not just by projecting droplets (by coughing, sneezing and talking) onto other people’s faces or onto surfaces.

Their letter is addressed directly to the World Health Organization, which has already been criticized for delaying the recommendation of the masks, and is accused here of refusing to see the accumulation of evidence of airborne spread of the virus.

“We urge the medical community and the competent national and international organizations to recognize the potential for air transmission of Covid-19,” the review writes Clinical infectious diseases from Oxford two researchers, Lidia Morawska from the University of Queensland (Australia) and Donald Milton from the University of Maryland, in an article signed by 237 other experts.

Better ventilate rooms

“There is significant potential for inhalation of viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short and medium distances (up to several meters, on the order of a room), and we advocate the use of preventive measures to prevent this pathway for airborne transmissions, they continue.

There is no scientific consensus that this airway plays a role in the contagion, but Julian Tang, one of the signatories, from the University of Leicester, responds that the WHO has not proved the opposite: “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

At the time of closure, it is urgent, experts claim, to better ventilate workplaces, schools, hospitals and nursing homes, and to install infection management tools such as sophisticated air filters and special ultraviolet rays that kill microbes in the air ducts.

Concerns in the United States

The new coronavirus has killed at least 536 138 people worldwide since late December, according to a report by AFP on Monday. There was still concern on Monday in the United States, where Covid-19’s 130,000 dead mark has been breached and where contamination records (nearly 55,000 on a day Monday) continue to be broken. “We opened too early in Arizona,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

President Donald Trump, however, goes on to say that the crisis is “about to end”, drawing together, among others, Texas Democratic Mayor Steve Adler, who classified his remarks as “dangerous” to residents of his city, whose resuscitation services run the risk of being overwhelmed “within ten days”.

The trend is still worrying in several Latin American countries. Chile has passed the threshold of 10,000 dead and Colombia the threshold of 4,000 dead. Brazil recorded 620 additional deaths in 24 hours on Sunday. However, Sao Paulo opens its bars and restaurants, and it is no longer mandatory to wear a mask in overcrowded prisons.

Local restrictions in Europe

Facing an outbreak of infection in the city of Melbourne, Australia decided to isolate the state of Victoria from the rest of the country. And the reconfiguration is in place from Monday in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, two months after the restrictions expired.

Europe, where the development of the pandemic seems under control, is still worried about a re-emergence of cases, leading to the implementation of new local restrictions, such as in Spain.

In Indonesia, the country in Southeast Asia that has the heaviest toll (65,000 people infected and 3,241 dead), the island of Bali wants to open again in September for international tourists.

Another country dependent on tourism, Kenya will resume its international and national flights on August 1st.

Greece, which had received around 3.5 million British tourists in 2019, announced on Monday that direct flights from the UK were returned on July 15 despite criticism, the country Boris Johnson suffering from the heaviest records in Europe and the Third World.

With AFP