Editorial:Could this be a new reality?


As the country’s coronavirus case counts passes the 23,000 mark, the World Health Organization has acknowledged there is emerging evidence that the coronavirus can be spread by tiny particles suspended in the air.

The airborne transmission could not be ruled out in crowded, closed or poorly ventilated settings, the WHO notes. This follows an open letter from more than 200 scientists urging the world health body to acknowledge this possibility.

While the scientific debate rages, this means we ought to take nothing for granted. Even though WHO officials have cautioned the evidence is preliminary and requires further assessment.

For months, the WHO has insisted that Covid-19 is transmitted via droplets emitted when people cough or sneeze but there appears to be a new realization and we need to keep an open mind in the face of the spiraling new cases in the country that has set most people on tenterhooks.

A team of international scientists, including 239 health experts from 32 countries, has written an open letter to the WHO urging the organization to revise its recommendations for the spread of SARS-CoV-2, due to mounting evidence that the disease is airborne for more extended periods than the WHO advisory.

The letter was reported by the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times this week. The scientists said that multiple studies demonstrate that aerosols can stay in the air for long periods, traveling long distances.

“We are 100 percent sure about this,” Lidia Morawska, a Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Faculty of Science & Engineering, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia, told the Los Angeles Times.

“Studies by the signatories and other scientists have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are exhaled in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air and pose a risk of exposure beyond 1 to 2m by an infected person,” Professor Morawska said.

Hence, we are being told to avoid overcrowding, particularly in public transport and public buildings. That is why some of us are worried that public transport owners are failing to observe social distancing.

Also, events like mass registration for both the new voters register and the Ghana Card could be a conduit for further spikes, if this finding proves to be true. We must exercise the greatest caution.

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