239 experts with 1 big claim: coronavirus is in the air

Many experts said WHO should adopt what some called a “precautionary principle” and others called “needs and values,” the idea that even without definitive evidence, the agency should take on the worst of the virus, apply common sense, and recommend the best protection. possible.

“There is no incontrovertible evidence that SARS-CoV-2 travels or is significantly transmitted by aerosols, but there is absolutely no evidence that it does not,” said Dr. Trish Greenhalgh, a primary care physician at the University of Oxford. in Great Britain.

“So right now we have to make a decision in the face of uncertainty, and my God, it will be a disastrous decision if we make a mistake,” he said. “So why not mask for a few weeks, just in case?”

After all, the WHO seems willing to accept the idea that the virus can be transmitted from surfaces without much evidence, she and other researchers noted, even as other health agencies have stepped back emphasizing this route.

“I agree that the transmission of fomites is not directly demonstrated for this virus,” said Dr. Allegranzi, WHO technical leader for infection control, referring to objects that may be infectious. “But it is well known that other coronaviruses and respiratory viruses are transmitted, and are shown to be transmitted, by contact with fomite.”

The agency should also consider the needs of all its member countries, including those with limited resources, and ensure that its recommendations are moderated by “availability, feasibility, compliance, resource implications,” he said.

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Aerosols may play a limited role in the spread of the virus, said Dr. Paul Hunter, a member of the infection prevention committee and professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia in Britain.