It has been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic started wreaking havoc across international boundaries. Even with the infection spreading to over 153 million people, the mode of its transmission still remains uncertain. World Health Organisation (WHO) last year acknowledged that coronavirus disease was airborne, but ruled out demands to include it into its guidelines citing lack of evidence. However, in its latest update, the organisation has not only mentioned the possibility of an airborne transmission but also specified that it could be transmitted via aerosols.
In its latest guidelines, the global organisation pointed out that the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads mainly between people “who are in close contact” with each other, typically within a range of 1 meter. Furthermore, it said that a person “can be infected when aerosols or droplets containing the virus are inhaled or come directly into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth”. Asserting that aerosols could remain suspended in the air for longer durations, it said that the coronavirus was likely to spread in crowded and non-ventilated rooms.
"The virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time. This is because aerosols remain suspended in the air or travel farther than 1 metre (long-range). People may also become infected by touching surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus when touching their eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning their hands," the WHO guideline read.
Meanwhile, the global COVID caseload is continuing its upwards trajectory. According to the latest tally by John Hopkins University over 153,953,421 people have contracted the virus while 3,223,436 people have died. On Monday, WHO chief has revealed that the recent surge in COVID caseload surpassed that of the pandemic’s initial months. Addressing media reporters in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that there have been more cases of coronavirus reported globally in the past two weeks than during the initial six months of the pandemic. While he highlighted that that Brazil and India account for over half of the last week’s total cases, there were many others countries battling a “very fragile situation.”