It has been more than a year since the deadly virus has created a havoc all across the world and the mode of its transmission is still unknown.
A new report, published in the medical journal Lancet, shows that there is consistent, strong evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, is principally transmitted through the air.
Six experts from the UK, USA, and Canada, including Jose-Luis Jimenez, a chemist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and the University of Colorado Boulder think that this is the reason why public health measures fail to treat the virus as predominantly airborne leave people unprotected and allow the virus to spread.
Hence, one may have hoped that the transmission to be controlled in one year, but these studies show the transmission is airborne.
Earlier also there are many studies including one funded by the WHO found the evidence for this inconclusive. However, now a team of researchers/ experts has looked at the research available in The Lancet and has concluded that there is consistent and strong evidence showing that the primary transmission route of the novel Coronavirus is airborne.
The SARS-CoV-2 has been believed to be a large-droplet-borne till now and hence, all the measures and precautions were introduced to us accordingly.
“Ten streams of evidence collectively support the hypothesis that #SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted primarily by the airborne route.”
— The Lancet (@TheLancet) April 16, 2021
But this time the virus being airborne is a game-changer and therefore, the public health measure should be taken into account on this basis. However, Dr. Trisha Greenhalgh of the University of Oxford, who is also a lead author of the paper published said in a report (The IE) that now the emphasis on deep cleaning and frequent hand washing will be less. Proper ventilation will now be needed.
As the lancet study report shows that coronavirus is an airborne disease, so what are the best ways to protect ourselves from this?
Dr. Ravi Gaur, Director, Oncquest Laboratories shared his insights about this while speaking to Healthwire and said, “There are a couple of ways how you can protect yourself from this and one of the best ways is by maintaining social distancing. Avoid close contact with people who have active symptoms of Covid, although wearing masks is the most important factor but as it is said it is airborne it is important to make sure that it is a multi-layered mask, not one layered one as in those the virus can enter through spaces. Along with that washing hands thoroughly is very important.”
What are the steps and measures the government should take to stop the spread?
“With all the measures, the government really needs to ensure that there are adequate safety measures like safe distancing everywhere from markets shops to offices and industries and unless you do this it will be really difficult to control the situation. Therefore, the shops should be opened on alternate days with adequate gaps with limited capacities. 50 percent of staff should be called in the offices if work from home is not possible. And most importantly, proper social distancing, cleaning, and sanitization should be done. The government must take care of the proper screening and testing,” explained Dr. Gaur.
In this situation is sanitization still important or the masks are more important?
Dr. Gaur said, “According to me both are equally important but I would say wearing masks is very important, that too wearing a multi-layered and well-fitted mask is very crucial and wash your hands after you touch your mask or open it.”