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WHO acknowledges 'emerging evidence' of airborne spread of COVID-19

The agency said it will release a scientific brief on all modes of transmission in the coming days.
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The World Health Organization on Tuesday acknowledged "emerging evidence" of the airborne spread of the coronavirus, after a group of scientists wrote a letter urging the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease is spread.

Speaking at a briefing in Geneva, Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, a WHO expert, said the organization believed it had "been open to the evidence on modes of transmission" of the new virus.

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Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead on COVID-19, said Tuesday that the organization has had an active engagement with the scientists who wrote the letter on airborne transmission.

COVID-19 is thought to spread mostly through respiratory droplets, usually from sneezes or coughs. But experts also say tiny viral particles can spread through singing, speaking loudly or breathing heavily. So, as businesses reopen around the world and as people consider gathering in closed, indoor spaces with poor ventilation, getting a more complete picture of how the coronavirus is spread is important.

The WHO is working on a scientific brief summarizing what's known about coronavirus transmission, Van Kerkhove said. It will be released in the coming days.

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