The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on Tuesday, confirmed the airborne transmission of coronavirus, after taking down the same warning a month ago.
The news comes when the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday that the coronavirus might have infected 1 in 10 people worldwide. This number is more than twenty times the confirmed cases.
The alarming statistic came from the head of WHO's Health Emergencies Program, Dr Michael Ryan, who, while speaking to the 34-member executive board, said that "according to their best estimates, roughly 10 percent of the world's population might have been infected by the virus. He said the number might vary from urban to rural areas, but that ultimately it means the vast majority of the world remains at risk."
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned of difficult days ahead, reported AP. It further added, many deaths have been averted, and many more lives can be protected.
Dr Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman, said it was based on an average of antibody studies conducted worldwide. She said the estimated 90 percent of people remaining without infection means the virus can spread further if we don't take any action to stop it, such as by contact-tracing and tracking cases by the health officials.
The news worsens with CDC updating guidance. It said that the virus spreads through small droplets and particles present in the air. This is specifically true for enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation.
The droplets can remain suspended in the air long after the infected person has left the room. For example, the infected person might be breathing heavily after a workout session, and the droplets did not leave the place due to inadequate ventilation.
Since infections occur mainly when air infected by the virus is inhaled and the virus gets deposited on mucous membranes, the droplets can be inhaled by healthy individuals, leading to them contracting the virus.
According to the CDC, infected individuals produce thousands of virus-laden aerosols and droplets while breathing and talking. These droplets can range in size from larger droplets to smaller droplets.
The virus can infect people who are further than six feet away from the infected person or after that person has left the space.
However, with time, the number of infectious viruses in respiratory droplets decreases as the larger droplets begin to fall out of the air due to gravity. Small droplets and particles spread apart in the air, CDC added.
With inputs from agencies
(Edited by : Niral)