The director-general of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, says there are possibilities that coronavirus (COVID-19) can be transmitted through the air.
Making the revelations on Monday at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Ihekweazu attributed it to new evidence, stating that the disease is believed to only be transmittable through droplets that emanate from the nose and the mouth and fall to the ground.
Over the past few weeks, increasing evidence has emerged that in addition to droplet infections; we cannot rule out that airborne transmission is also possible as a mode of transmission of COVID-19.
Understanding the modes of transmission of any new virus is very critical for defining response strategies. For COVID-19, from the very beginning, our understanding based on other coronaviruses that spread was primarily through droplets.
Droplets are excretions from the respiratory tracts that can’t stay on in the air; they ultimately fall to the ground after a few minutes.
However, as we have studied transmission, studied clusters of these infections, we saw increasing evidence from clusters of infections where droplet transmission did not seem to be enough to explain the clusters that we are seeing.
Diseases that are commonly understood to be spread by what we call airborne infection are things like measles and influenza; that can be suspended in the air and transmit over longer distances.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also updated its guidelines with the same position on the mode of COVID-19 transmission.