COVID-19: Increasing evidence virus now airborne, says Virlogist


By Abujah Racheal

Abuja, July 22, 2020 Dr Solomon Chollom, a Jos based Virologist, says that there are increasing evidences to the fact that Coronavirus is also airborne, not just droplet infection as claimed by over 230 scientists across the world.

Chollom told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday in Abuja, that the World Heath Organisation(WHO) is considering the veracity of several research claims and was beginning to consider making pronouncement in this regard.

NAN reports that WHO formally recognised that coronavirus can be transmitted indoors by droplets in the air, marking a reversal for the United Nations agency.

The WHO said in a scientific brief that people, who spend time in crowded settings with poor ventilation, run the risk of being infected by the coronavirus as the droplets circulate throughout the air in indoor gatherings.

The admission comes after a crush of criticism from experts pushing the organisation to update its description of the virus’s spread to include the possibility of airborne infections.

WHO now acknowledges that transmissions via aerosols, or tiny air droplets, could have been behind “outbreaks of COVID-19 reported in some closed settings, such as restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship or places of work where people may be shouting, talking, or singing.”

Besides refraining from having close contact with infected people and frequent hand-washing, the agency says people should “avoid crowded places, close-contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.

According to the expert, in the meantime, the body has advised that buildings where people gather in large numbers for a long time and where they talk, sing or speak must be well ventilated to reduce the risk of populating and contaminating the air with the virus.

“Places like worship centres, social centres, schools etc are thus the major concern,” he said.

The Virologist said that if the world health body eventually makes the pronouncement in this regard, then Nigerians would have to review its national COVID-19 guidelines to address the emerging realities.

Chollom noted that these would include: the possible introduction of the use of radiations like ultraviolet (uv) rays to decontaminate /sterilize public places and residents occasionally.

“This may include the use of light as obtained through light bulbs to sterilise worship places, cinemas and clubs, schools before and after every use to ensure maximum safety. Same may be deployed in homes,” he noted.

He, however, said that major entrances to public places like schools, hospitals and worship places must have decontaminating cabinets at their entrances and exits.

He said the decontaminating cabinets would be such that when one steps in, he/she would receive a spray of the decontaminating chemical all through their body to rid them of any viral droplet that may be hanging on them.

The Virologist said that these measures would likely be introduced in addition to the existing measures of regular hand washing, use of face masks, social distancing among others.