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  • No Scientific Basis Yet That Coronavirus May Spread Through Air Droplets - DOH

    The number of casualties continues to rise as the virus spreads
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
No Scientific Basis Yet That Coronavirus May Spread Through Air Droplets - DOH
PHOTO BY @torwai/iStock
  • There are now more deaths from the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) than there were casualties from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003, the New York Times reports.

    SARS had a death toll of 774 worldwide before it was successfully contained. As for the virus that originated in Wuhan, China, data shows that there are now more than 900 deaths, but many believe the statistics are under-reported, and that actual numbers are much higher.  

    And it looks like it won’t be letting up soon, as scientists continue to discover more details about the virus every day.

    Yesterday, February 9, 2020, an official from the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau in China confirmed that, besides direct transmission and contact transmission, the novel coronavirus may also spread by aerosol transmission. 

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    Direct transmission happens when you inhale the virus from the same air after a patient sneezes or coughs. Wearing a face mask may thus help halt the spread of the virus.

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    When you come into contact with an object that is contaminated, then touch your eyes, nose or mouth and contract the virus, that is transmission by contact. It can be prevented by frequent hand washing and disinfection.

    The third mode is a lot harder to contain. “Aerosol transmission refers to the mixing of the virus with droplets in the air to form aerosols, which causes infection after inhalation, according to medical experts,” said Zeng Qun, deputy head of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau. Because of this, the Shanghai government is discouraging people from staying in densely-populated areas or in spaces that aren’t well-ventilated.

    However, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing is refuting claims that the 2019-nCoV can spread by aerosol transmission. 

    “At present, the main methods of transmission are by droplets and through contact. There is no evidence that the coronavirus can spread through aerosol transmission,” spokesperson Feng Luzhao said, according to the South China Morning Post.

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    Likewise, in the Philippines, Department of Health Undersecretary Gerardo V. Bayugo said today in a “Laging Handa” press briefing in Malacanang that there is still no scientific basis for saying that the novel coronavirus may spread through aerosol transmission.

    “Wala pa pong gano’ng information that it is transmitted in the air. Wala pa pong scientific basis at wala pa po kaming nakukuhang report. We've been in contact [with] experts in Geneva, and we are raising all these concerns,” he said.

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    China working with WHO on 2019-nCoV

    Meanwhile, after weeks of being ignored by China, a team of experts from the World Health Organization is now en route to lend a hand. This comes after the Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai’s statement during the annual Forum on US-China Relations that they are “sharing information and strengthening cooperation with the WHO and other countries in an open, transparent and responsible way.”

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    Assistant director general Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO’s special representative for the Ebola outbreak in 2014, leads the mission team that left for China.

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