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WHO says it can’t rule out airborne spread of COVID-19, so what does this change? – ABC News

After much uproar in the scientific community the World Health Organisation has recognised the possibility of COVID-19 spreading through the air in some indoor locations. So let’s look at what that means for infection control at home and in public.

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After an urgent plea from hundreds of scientists, the World Health Organisation says it “cannot rule out” the risk of coronavirus spreading through the air in some indoor settings and has issued new advice
In its most definitive statement on COVID-19 spread to date, the WHO has acknowledged the possibility that outbreaks in choirs, restaurants and fitness classes around the world were the result of some aerosol transmission.
“In these events, short-range aerosol transmission, particularly in specific indoor locations, such as crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a prolonged period of time with infected persons cannot be ruled out,” the statement said.
There is growing evidence that small droplet (airborne) transmission is a significant route of infection indoors.(Supplied: Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 By Lidia Morawska)
Until now, the WHO has maintained that the large respiratory droplets we produce when we breathe, talk, cough or sneeze are our number one enemy. These droplets fall to the ground (or surfaces) quickly.
But coronavirus can also spread by the much smaller aerosol particles we produce during exhalatory activities, such as when we cough or sing, and these can remain suspended in the air for hours and travel up to four metres.
“The original statement by the WHO that

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