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Hundreds of experts in 32 countries are urging the World Health Organization [WHO] to revise its coronavirus safety recommendations to include airborne transmission via smaller infectious aerosols, according to a report in the New York Times.
The article, published Saturday, reported that 239 experts sent an open letter to the WHO detailing evidence of airborne transmission. Researchers reportedly plan to publish the letter in a scientific journal this week.
If airborne transmission proves to play a significant factor in infection, containment measures could extend to masks in socially distant settings, and updated ventilation systems, according to the report.
The WHO has maintained that the primary route of COVID-19 spread is through large droplets expelled from an infected person after coughing or sneezing.
In an update as recent as June 29, the WHO said airborne transmission is “possible” in circumstances generating aerosols smaller than 5 microns, such as during medical procedures. In those settings, the WHO advises proper ventilation and N95 masks.
Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, WHO technical lead for infection prevention and control, was quoted as saying, “Especially in the last couple of months, we have been stating several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence,” she said. “There is a strong debate on this.”
WHO spokesperson, Tarik Jašarević, told Fox News in an e-mail statement, “We are aware of the article and are reviewing its contents with our technical experts.”