No substantial evidence for COVID-19 to be airborne: Experts

COVID-19 - Coronavirus - Restrictions
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SRINAGAR — The medical experts in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday ruled out the possibilities of coronavirus being an airborne disease, stating that there was no substantial evidence to prove that the deadly virus is airborne.

In a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO), many scientists had stated that the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19) was an airborne disease and suggested it to revise the recommendations.

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Valley’s top medical experts ruled out the possibility of COVID-19 being airborne, stating that scientists from various parts of the globe have filed their observation to WHO. “There is no concrete and convening data to prove that this disease is airborne,” the experts said.

Dr. Naveed Shah, Head of the Department (HOD), Chest Disease Hospital, Srinagar, said that some scientists have given their view but there is no concrete evidence about the same.

“It has to be scientifically proven that this disease is airborne,” said Shah, who was tested positive himself for the deadly virus. He, however, fought back and defeated the virus. Dr Shah, who is on the forefront of COVID-19 battle, was recently tested negative after remaining in quarantine for over two weeks.

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He said as of now what they know is that the virus is contracted from person to others through droplets when one coughs or sneezes. “It can be contained by use of a mask but the airborne disease doesn’t need droplets to sustain,” Dr Shah said.

Valley’s top influenza expert, Dr Nisar ul Hassan, who is also Associate Professor (Medicine) at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, said that had it been airborne disease by now, each and every one would have got infected.

He said the precautionary measures like, face masks, social distancing are immaterial in case the virus was airborne. “It would be everywhere if it is in the air and anybody can get infected but there is no clear evidence about the same. The scientists who have written a letter to WHO to change the guidelines are also not convinced as to what the virus is actually,” Dr Nisar said.

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He said there was a study in China that virus spread was seen at 9 feet distance also but they saw it in an intensive care unit (ICU) of hospital where the patients were being intubated and given nebulization.

Dr Nisar said as of now there is no concrete study and observation about COVID-19 being an airborne disease. “I still will be reluctant to call this disease airborne. It spreads with the coughing, sneezing once one is in close contact,” he said.

He said the scientists who framed the letter have limitations and observations which basically are not scientifically proven and have not done research or study about the same as they are just speculating.

“We should not trigger more fear among people by calling the disease airborne,” he said. Dr Nisar said that today morning, WHO clarified that there is no concrete evidence to say that coronavirus is an airborne disease.

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