Extent of coronavirus air transmission unclear

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The World Health Organization has resisted criticism from scientists who accuse the organization of neglecting the risk of infection via air transmission in its recommendations.

There is nothing to shake the existing recommendations, which provide for a distance and wearing masks if this cannot be observed, according to the WHO. According to the group of experts, however, particularly full, inadequately ventilated rooms are a risk.

Paul Edelstein, Professor Emeritus of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania:

“I agree that it makes sense to consider the possibility of airborne transmission. It makes sense to improve ventilation in poorly ventilated rooms. One thing that has been neglected is source protection, ie prevention that people can transmit the infection at all “.

A total of 239 researchers from 32 countries signed an open letter in a journal accusing the United Nations of failing to issue adequate warnings about the risk.

The experts recommend avoiding high densities of people and, above all, pay attention to ventilation with fresh outside air. It has now been proven that wearing face masks protects against infection.

“Wearing a mask helps to prevent the transfer of both droplets, large-format particles and particles of smaller size. The particles are first expelled into small aerosols and then as larger particles and collected by a mask.”

Some experts said it might be helpful to wear masks indoors while tightening ventilation regulations to avoid airborne transmission. The WHO sees this as an unnecessary burden since the spread of aerosols is not the predominant route of transmission.

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