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An image has been put up on Facebook by a page posing as a circular from UNICEF. The message claims that Coronavirus does not settle in the air and is not transmitted by air. We investigated and found that the message is not from UNICEF. Though it is true that Coronavirus is not an airborne virus but the virus can stay suspended in the air for some time. We mark this as Half True.
A social media post attributed to UNICEF reads: “The virus does not settle in the air but is grounded, so it is not transmitted by air.” The virus referred to in the graphics is coronavirus as stated in the caption. A snapshot of the post is given below and the archived version of the post can be checked here.
Is this advisory from UNICEF?
No. Dr. Prafful Bharadwaj, Health Officer at UNICEF has talked to Vishvas News clarifying that UNICEF has not issued any such guidelines or advisory.
Does Coronavirus spread through air? Or does it settle on the ground?
WHO does not categorize the novel Coronavirus as an air borne virus. On its website WHO mentions, “Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 spreads between people through direct, indirect (through contaminated objects or surfaces), or close contact with infected people via mouth and nose secretions. These include saliva, respiratory secretions, or secretion droplets. These are released from the mouth or nose when an infected person coughs, sneezes speaks, or sings, for example. People who are in close contact (within 1 meter) with an infected person can catch COVID-19 when those infectious droplets get into their mouth, nose, or eyes.” WHO also advises people to maintain a distance of 1 meter.
This means that, even though the virus is not categorized as ‘airborne’, it can stay suspended in the air for some time after coming out of an infected person (eg. through sneeze) before it falls on the ground.
So, Coronavirus is not an airborne virus technically but can still stay suspended in air for a shorter length. Hence, precautions like masks and social distancing are not to be taken lightly.
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