Coronavirus Live Updates: Nearly 23,000 new cases, 482 deaths take India’s overall case tally to over 7.4 lakh

Following a group of scientists urging the World Health Organisation to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people, the health body acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus. “We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of Covid-19,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on the pandemic at the WHO. While the WHO previously said the virus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease spreads primarily through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined evidence that they say shows floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in. “We wanted them to acknowledge the evidence,” said Jose Jimenez, a chemist at the University of Colorado who signed the paper. “This is definitely not an attack on the WHO. It’s a scientific debate, but we felt we needed to go public because they were refusing to hear the evidence after many conversations with them,” he said. Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead for infection prevention and control, said there was evidence emerging of airborne transmission of the coronavirus, but that it was not definitive. “…The possibility of airborne transmission in public settings – especially in very specific conditions, crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described, cannot be ruled out,” she said. “However, the evidence needs to be gathered and interpreted, and we continue to support this.”

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