The World Health Organization (WHO) did not rule out that the coronavirus can be transmitted by air, admitting that there is “emerging evidence” about this possibility after scientists warned about this form of contagion.
The agency indicated that more in-depth and urgent investigations are needed to clear the doubts along with modifying its recommendations.
“We should remain open to this possibility and its implications and the precautions that must be taken,” acknowledged on Wednesday Benedetta Allegranzi, a specialist of the organization, who in March 2020 had ruled out that the SARS-CoV-2 was transmitted by air.
“On the possible route of air transmission, there are new but not definitive evidence, and that possibility is seen especially in particular conditions,”
The WHO statements come after 239 international scientists alerted to this possible form of COVID-19 infection and urged the body to modify its guidelines for recommendations, which currently do not consider this transmission route.
1. WHO Guidelines Update
Meanwhile, on Thursday 9, the WHO published an update of its guidelines for recommendations, including for the first time the possibility that it can be transmitted in an area way.
“Aerial transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur during aerosol-generating medical procedures. Together with the scientific community, the WHO has been actively discussing and evaluating whether SARS-CoV-2 can also spread through aerosols in the absence of aerosol-generating methods, particularly indoor settings with poor ventilation “notes the document.
According to the agency, “current evidence suggests that the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurs mainly between people through direct, indirect or close contact with infected people through infected secretions,” such as saliva and respiratory secretions, which they are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes speaks, or sings.
He adds that “airborne transmission of the virus can occur in healthcare settings where specific medical procedures, called aerosol-generating methods, generate tiny droplets called aerosols.
Some reports of outbreaks related to crowded interior spaces have suggested aerosol transmission, combined with the transfer of drops, for example, during choir practice, in restaurants or gym classes.”
According to the WHO, “What we currently know, the transmission of COVID-19 occurs primarily in people when they have symptoms, and can also happen just before symptoms develop when they are around other people for prolonged periods.
While someone who never develops symptoms may also pass the virus on to others, the extent to which this occurs is still unclear, and more research is needed in this area. ”
In this way, he points out that “urgent high-quality research is needed to elucidate the relative importance of the different transmission routes; the role of air transmission in the absence of aerosol generation procedures; the dose of virus required for transmission to occur; the configuration and risk factors for over-predation events; and the extension of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission.”
2. Latin America, The New Epicenter
Meanwhile, the director of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom, indicated that as of July 8, the pandemic’s peak has not yet been reached and that the data available as of July 2020 shows that the progression of the disease is “accelerating.”
“The death toll seems to have stabilized globally, (but) some countries have made significant progress in reducing the number of cases, while others continue to grow,” Adhanom said.
On the other hand, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa Etienne, recognized on Wednesday the 8th that Latin America and the Caribbean displaced the United States as the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic on the continent, reporting more than 50 percent of cases in the last week.
The USA accounted for 75 percent of infections in America two months ago. However, currently, Latin America accumulates half of the almost three million contagion cases reported in the continent.
The contagion figures in the region are led by Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Mexico. “The next six months will not be easier, and we cannot let our guard down,” Etienne admitted.