A group of 239 scientists from 32 countries worldwide says there is evidence that coronavirus can spray in small particles in the air and infect people indoors, which could mean that masks may be required while inside.
The tests were done by experts from NIH, Princeton University, and the University of California, Los Angeles, at the National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Lab in Hamilton, Montana.
The new findings have prompted researchers to urge the World Health Organization (WHO) to revise its recommendations that could change the way people go about their days while indoors in confined spaces.
According to The New York Times, people may need to keep wearing masks at home and indoors, even when they are socially distanced.
It would mean that ventilation systems in residences, schools, businesses, and nursing homes would need to add new filters to their air conditioning units.
A new study also suggested that ultraviolet light would be deployed to kill tiny, infected particles.
The WHO has said the COVID-19 spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the mouth or nose, which are expelled when a person with coronavirus speaks, coughs, or sneezes.
There is a fierce debate among scientists as to whether coronavirus can linger in the air. This group claim coronavirus is borne through the air and can infect people when inhaled, according to the NYT.
From the beginning, since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, last December scientists fear the virus, called SARS-CoV-2, can survive on surfaces. US government researchers in March claimed that the COVID-19 was capable of surviving in the air for three hours and on steel and plastic and surfaces for up to (72 hours) three days. Tests showed coronavirus can survive on copper for four hours, cardboard for an entire day.
In an open letter to the health organization, which will publish in a scientific journal next week, the scientists outlined the evidence showing smaller particles can infect people, NYT reported.
In April, experts in China found that the COVID-19 can linger in the air of crowded places such as hospital toilets, which had very little ventilation. It even suggests the virus can latch onto clothing and become airborne again when masks, gloves, and gowns are removed.
So far, about 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the US. more than 132,000 Americans have died.