COVID airborne transmission a ‘distinct possibility’, says CSIR chief

Srinagar: Alluding to the emerging evidence, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) chief Shekhar C. Mande has asserted that airborne transmission of COVID is indeed a “distinct possibility” and advised people to wear masks even in enclosed spaces, a Delhi based news gatherer ANI reported.

Chief’s remarks came days after the World Health Organization acknowledged the emerging evidence of airborne spread of the novel coronavirus.

In a blogpost on CSIR’s website, Mande referred to findings of various studies and wrote, “all these emerging evidences and arguments suggest that indeed airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is a distinct possibility.”

The CSIR chief advised people to avoid large crowded gatherings, keep enclosed places like workplaces well-ventilated and wear masks even in enclosed spaces, the report added.

“In open spaces, the small-sized droplets get dissipated in the air very quickly. Moreover, emerging evidence also suggests that the encapsulated virus in such droplets also gets inactivated by sunlight. However, the concentration of virion-encapsulated droplets is likely to be higher in places that are not well ventilated,” he said substantiating his claims on CSIR’s website.

Earlier this month, World Health Oganisation (WHO) had acknowledged the emerging evidence of airborne spread after an open letter by over 200 scientists outlined evidence that showed floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in.

For months, the WHO had insisted that Covid is transmitted via droplets emitted when people cough or sneeze. Droplets that do not linger in the air, but fall onto surfaces – that’s why handwashing has been identified as a key prevention measure.

By now, as many as 14,908,513 people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID. More than 8,939,592 infected people have recovered and 614,470 have died so far.

On a positive side, researchers have said that “Oxford University’s experimental coronavirus vaccine is safe and generated a strong immune response in the people who volunteered to help trial it”, raising hopes it could contribute in ending the pandemic.

Country-wise, the US remains the most affected. It recorded over 62,000 cases in a day to take its tally to 3,961,429 cases, including 143,826 deaths. It is followed by Brazil, which has 2,121,645 cases, 80,251 deaths, and India has reported 1,156,189 cases and 28,099 deaths so far.

On Monday, with 37,143 new cases, the total number of COVID cases in India has reached 1,170,636 and the death toll has mounted to 28,329.


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