FILE PHOTO Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).

Scientists petition WHO over airborne transmission of Covid-19

“WHO must clearly explain why ventilation measures are needed and update its guidance to recommend facial coverings even when physical distance can be maintained indoors.”

CAPE TOWN –  An online petition on Change.org has been started by scientists calling on WHO to urgently promote broad awareness of aerosols transmission.

 

According to the petition there is compelling scientific evidence that Covid-19 spreads by aerosol transmission (‘airborne’) and urges the health body to immediately develop and initiate clear recommendations to enable people to protect themselves.

 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, scientists have debated the extent to which the smaller droplets transmit Covid-19. The petitioners and the building scientists want far more emphasis placed on ventilation. 

 

“WHO must clearly explain why ventilation measures are needed and update its guidance to recommend facial coverings even when physical distance can be maintained indoors. Our combined concern over the WHO and our respective governments’ lack of clear direction on aerosols, said scientist Robert Bean.

 

Jonathan Mesiano-Crookston, says the droplet theory goes back to 1910, and that the WHO is also relying on studies done by people who are on the WHO guidance committees and wrote a 2013 study done in hospital situations:

 

“Though knowledge of transmission modes continues to evolve, current evidence indicates that the major mode of transmission of most ARIs [acute respiratory infections] is through large droplets….,”

 

“Large droplets of this size, because of their weight and size, generally can not remain suspended in the air. Consequently, infection control precautions will only be necessary when the health-care worker comes within 1 metre of the patient. This is the rationale behind the recommendations under ‘droplet precautions.,” said Mesiano-Crookston.

 

“The only way for protection measures can reach the entire population equally is through local authorities, most of which follow WHO recommendations. Given this reality, the lack of clear guidance from WHO contributes to increasing social inequalities,” concluded Bean.

 

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