Talking, breathing can also spread Covid-19: Experts tell White House

The Covid-19 virus can spread not just by sneezing or coughing but also through talking, or breathing, a scientific panel told the White House. “While the current (coronavirus) specific research is limited, the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing,” Dr. Harvey Fineberg, chairman of the National Academy of Sciences standing committee, said in a letter to the White House. His letter was sent on April 1 in response to a query from Kelvin Droegemeier with the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, CNN reported.

“This letter responds to your question concerning the possibility that (coronavirus) could be spread by conversation, in addition to sneeze/cough-induced droplets,” the letter states. “Currently available research supports the possibility that (coronavirus) could be spread via bioaerosols generated directly by patients’ exhalation,” it continues.Although it is believed the virus spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, Fineberg’s research shows that aerosolized droplets produced by talking or just breathing can also spread the virus, according to CNN.

Citing research at a hospital in China, he explains that the virus can be suspended in the air when doctors and nurses remove protective gear, or when floors are cleaned, or when staff move around. Also, research by the University of Nebraska shows that genetic material from the virus was found in patients’ rooms more than six feet away from the patients, according to the letter.

Fineberg said it’s possible that aerosolized coronavirus droplets can hang in the air and potentially infect someone who walks by later.“If you generate an aerosol of the virus with no circulation in a room, it’s conceivable that if you walk through later, you could inhale the virus,” Fineberg said. “But if you’re outside, the breeze will likely disperse it.”World Health Organization said global infections will eclipse one million with 50,000 deaths in a few days. “Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing.

Meanwhile, scientists have traced the coronavirus back to bat DNA, saying it likely jumped from there to a pangolin before jumping to humans.The last time the WHO declared a pandemic was during the 2009 H1N1 swine flu outbreak. “Covid-19 is a real threat. It is a real threat to everyone on the planet,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on the outbreak.WHO officials said government lockdowns aren’t enough to contain the coronavirus outbreak. However, they said without them, the coronavirus would kill even more people.The body said more than 857,600 confirmed and 42,006 deaths have been reported so far in 205 countries. The US has reported 187,302 confirmed cases and 3,846 deaths.

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