239 Experts With One Big Claim: The Coronavirus Is Airborne.
The W.H.O. has resisted mounting evidence that viral particles floating indoors are infectious, some scientists say. The agency maintains the research is still inconclusive.
Hundreds of international scientists are urging the World Health Organisation to revise its guidelines about the airborne transmission of coronavirus.
In an open letter, 239 experts from 32 countries point to new research that shows an infected person exhales airborne virus droplets when breathing and talking that can travel further than the current 1.5m social distance requirement.
The research, from Queensland University of Technology, shows poor ventilation in public buildings, workplace environments, schools, hospitals, aged care homes, or activities such as singing, contribute to viral spread.
Improved ventilation is vital for protecting against airborne infection transmission, the scientists warned.
Led by Professor Lidia Morawska, the experts say the 1.5 metre social distancing rule is not far enough.
"Studies by the signatories and other scientists have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are exhaled in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air and pose a risk of exposure beyond 1m to 2m by an infected person," Professor Morawska said.
"At typical indoor air velocities, a five-micron droplet will travel tens of metres, much greater than the scale of a typical room while settling from a height of 1.5m above the floor."