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COVID-19 may spread through droplets and airborne particles, US CDC warns



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CORONAVIRUS is airborne and commonly spreads “through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed.

In its updated guideline, CDC averred that “There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.”

In its article, “How COVID-19 spreads,” updated on September 18, the US agency said  it was still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.

The CDC reiterated that COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about six feet).

It added that how easily a virus spreads from person to person can vary.

“Airborne viruses, including COVID-19, are among the most contagious and easily spread. Some viruses are highly contagious, like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily.”

The Centre explained that virus that causes COVID-19 appears to spread more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious.

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In general, the more closely a person with COVID-19 interacts with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread, it said.

In the guideline, the CDC says that indoor environments without good ventilation increase risk of transmission, adding that keeping a distance of at least six feet is necessary, while promoting the use of face masks.

Public health experts and scientists have also argued about the possibility of COVID-19 to be airborne.

“When it comes to COVID-19, the evidence overwhelmingly supports aerosol transmission, and there are no strong arguments against it,” says Jose-Luis Jimenez, a Professor of Chemistry and a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Identified as a third potential pathway of transmission, it has been submitted that COVID-19 can spread through aerosols, also known as airborne.

As more and more countries are opening up their economies due to the flattening curves of COVID-19 there are fears that there may be rise in cases as a result of the airborne nature of the virus.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has restricted public gatherings to not more than 50 persons in enclosed spaces, advising that physical distancing measures and other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are enforced.

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Nigeria at the moment has recorded over 57,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 while it has continued to relax some of the measures put in place against the disease.

While the Federal Government allowed partial opening of religious centres in the country, the NCDC directed that children and people aged 60 and above should avoid worship centres for the time being.

According to the guidelines posted on its website, the NCDC said “Holy communion should be packaged in disposable wraps. Drinking water points, public toilets and sales outlets must be closed for now.”

This is coming barely two weeks after the Federal Government lifted the ban on religious  centres and other public gatherings.

Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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