Monday, May 3, 2021

Covid-19 is airborne!

‘But it doesn't mean outside air is contaminated’

THE LANCET report that states that unlike what was believed earlier, coronavirus might actually be airborne, is the talk of the town. 

The report, authored by six experts from the US, the UK and Canada, said: “SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted primarily by the airborne route”

The authors - Trisha Greenhalgh, Jose Jimenez, Kimberly Prather, Zeynep Tufekci, David Fisman and Robert Schooley - also gave 10 reasons backing their claim. They also called for immediate modification of established Covid-19 protocols. But this might not mean quite what you think it means.

Many have taken it to believe that the outside air could be contaminated with coronavirus and stepping out might mean that one contracts the virus. However, that's not the case. 

Dr. Faheem Younus, Chief of Infectious Diseases at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, explained what it actually means. “(The) Lancet study: Airborne does not mean outside air is contaminated. It means the virus may remain suspended in the air - typically in indoor settings - and pose a risk. Our parks and beaches are still the safest places to enjoy without a mask (provided 6 feet distance),” he tweeted.

Younus also explained the easiest way to keep oneself safe from the virus - face masks. He elaborated that it is known that Covid spreads through droplets to being airborne. “LANCET STUDY: No worries. We know Covid spreads (droplet to airborne) in a spectrum,” adding that the best solution is N95 or KN95 masks, and not cloth masks.

He also suggested that the masks must be used alternatively every 24 hours. “Solution: Buy two N95 or KN95 masks. Use one today; leave the other in a PAPER bag for tomorrow. Keep alternating every 24 hours. Reuse for weeks if they aren't damaged. Ditch cloth masks,” said Younus.

The Lancet report says that detailed analysis of human behaviour and interactions, as well as room sizes and other variables are consistent with airborne spread of SARS-CoV-2. “Long-range transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between people in adjacent rooms but never in each other’s presence has been documented in quarantine hotels,” the paper said. 

In conclusion, the authors of the report, propose that it is a scientific error to use lack of direct evidence of SARS-CoV-2 in some air samples to cast doubt on airborne transmission while overlooking the quality and strength of the overall evidence base. “There is consistent, strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 spreads by airborne transmission. Although other routes can contribute, we believe that the airborne route is likely to be dominant. The public health community should act accordingly and without further delay,” the authors said.

The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is among the world's oldest and best-known general medical journals. (Business Today, Mindanao Examiner)

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