NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The World Health Organization says they have “emerging evidence” that the spread of coronavirus could be airborne.

In a letter published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, two scientists wrote that studies show “beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are released during exhalation, talking and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air.”

Dr. David Aronoff is the Director of the Division of Infectious Disease at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

He said this does not make the virus more of a threat.

“This new sort of information from the World Health Organization doesn’t really change what we need to do to prevent transmission,” said Aronoff. “We need to respect the distance between ourselves and others and we need to wear cloth masks to prevent dispersing the virus.”

He said you lessen your chance of potentially transmitting or picking up the virus when you’re outdoors and not in close proximity of others.

“Under the right conditions the virus can go further than six feet and hover a bit long in the air,” said Aronoff. “The droplets that we breathe out are a continuum of sizes and the virus can get into smaller water droplets and go a bit further than six feet, but that tends to be in very close contact in poorly ventilated areas. It’s not a truly airborne pathogen like we would see with tuberculosis or the chickenpox virus or measles.”

The World Health Organization said it will release a scientific brief on all the ways the virus can be transmitted in the next few days.


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