COVID-19, WHO investigates airborne infections

We cannot give up on the health crisis of COVID-19 until the world has an effective vaccine and it has been distributed to the vast majority of the world’s population. It is a statement that scientists repeat and to which we should give the credit it deserves because the pandemic is not over at all.

The news that keeps coming is not encouraging at all. The global pandemic is at its peak. The updated data speaks of 11.6 million infected people and more than half a million deaths. And that with official data confirmed by PCR. The reality is much worse.

In addition to the areas such as the United States, Brazil or India where the pandemic is out of control, the situation of countries (such as Spain) that had managed to flatten the curve and relax pressure on health services, is also worrying. In the last weeks after the end of the confinement, they are registering outbreaks and regrowths of greater or lesser depth that have forced them to go back with partial confinements due to the risk of saturation of primary care and some hospitals.

In summary: the situation is not “normal”, it requires good government management and more responsible personal action than ever following the guidelines of social distance, use of masks and cleaning. The new coronavirus has not gone anywhere. He is still active throughout the world and is still a great unknown.

COVID-19 Contagion by air?

Regarding the ignorance that we have of the new coronavirus, we receive information from an open letter that has been published this weekend The New York Times. It is signed by 239 scientists from 32 countries and ensures that SARS-CoV-2 it is transmitted in the air of the interiors and not only directly from person to person as previously believed.

The letter requires the World Health Organization to review the scientific questions that it has considered to be proven and to review the action protocols since -in confirmation of the information- it would be a great change (for the worse) of the ways that the virus has to transmit and would require advanced protection (masks) even indoors where social distance can be kept.

If the coronavirus is able to stay in the air and transmit without the need for human contact, imagine what it means for a school, a shopping center, a nursing home or any type of interior with a massive presence of people. To control it, we would need advanced ventilation systems and masks with a level of protection superior to the merely sanitary ones, which are the ones that are being used massively.

COVID-19

No confirmation

Until now, in addition to the known route of contact between people, sneezes or the like of those infected, the WHO has recognized that airborne transmission of COVID-19 it was only possible by aerosols or drops of less than 5 microns and hence the need for advanced equipment in situations such as medical treatments. But not in other spaces as the group of scientists suggests.

From the WHO indicate that There is no evidence of this, but neither do they rule it out: “Especially in the past two months, we have repeatedly stated that we consider airborne transmission as possible, but it is certainly not supported by strong or even clear evidence”, explained the WHO technical chief for SARS-CoV-2. “There is a strong debate about this”, he stressed.

The problem that the scientists declare in their letter is that the performance of the WHO is usually too conservative, “Stiff and slow to react”. Something positive in the traditional scientific method, but that may not be as effective in the face of the emergency of a pandemic … And it is not the first time since it happened with the same masks a few months ago.

“There is no irrefutable evidence that SARS-CoV-2 travels or is significantly transmitted by aerosols, but there is absolutely no evidence that it does not.”, explain specialists from the University of Oxford and some of the signatories. “So right now we have to make a decision in the face of uncertainty, and by God, it will be a disastrous decision if we make a mistake.”.

We repeat ourselves. COVID-19 remains a great unknown as well as its consequences at all levels. On a personal level we can only act with one huge responsibility.

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