The coronavirus outbreak has undoubtedly brought the entire world to its knees. Everyday new information about the virus surfaces and people start to panic without paying heed to what's actually being said. Something very similar happened recently when an article stating that the 'WHO was considering airborne precautions for medical staff' started making the rounds.
People didn't bother reading further than the headline and started to panic believing that the news claims that the virus is now airborne and can stay in the air for at least 8 hours. But as of now, this news is just a myth. In fact, the article didn't even discuss this; it discusses the fact that multiple studies are going on to figure out whether or not the Covid-19 virus can survive on surfaces and if it can, for how long.
What's more, the article also discussed that although nothing had yet proved that the virus was airborne, it would be better for medical staff to be extra cautious since aerosol transmission of the virus is possible. There's a clear difference between airborne and aerosol. While airborne refers to transmissible by air, aerosol means the virus can transfer via droplets or contact.
And since the medical staff is directly in contact with people who are infected, there's a high chance of aerosol transfer which is why they need to practice extra precaution. Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia said, “Airborne spread has not been reported for COVID-19. Based on the information received so far and on our experience with other coronaviruses, COVID-19 appears to spread mostly through respiratory droplets (for instance produced when a sick person coughs) and close contact. This is why WHO recommends maintaining hand and respiratory hygiene.”
“The Chinese authorities reported that there could be a possibility of aerosol transmission in a relatively closed environment with prolonged exposure to high concentrations of aerosols, like in ICUs and CCUs in hospitals, but more investigations and analysis of epidemiological data is needed to understand this mode of transmission of the virus.”
This goes to prove that one must not just blindly believe everything one reads on the Internet. In fact, we should all do our bit to stop false rumours from spreading. Make sure to only rely on sources from appropriate channels for your information regarding the virus and keep yourself updated too. Stay safe and stay tuned for more updates.