The World Health Organization on Thursday released new guidelines on the transmission of the novel coronavirus that acknowledge some reports of airborne transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19, but stopped short of confirming that the virus spreads through the air.
In its latest transmission guidance, the WHO acknowledged that some outbreak reports related to indoor crowded spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, such as during choir practice, in restaurants or in fitness classes.
But the WHO said more research is “urgently needed to investigate such instances and assess their significance for transmission of COVID-19.”
Based on its review of the current evidence, the WHO said the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads between people through direct or indirect contact with contaminated surfaces or close contact with infected people who spread the virus through saliva, respiratory secretions or droplets released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings.
The report follows an open letter from scientists who specialize in the spread of disease in the air – so-called aerobiologists – that urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease spreads to include aerosol transmission.