Experts ask for stronger protection from airborne transmission of COVID-19

stronger protection from airborne transmission of COVID-19

363 scientists, occupational health specialists, engineers, physicians and nurses from across Canada are calling today on the Premiers and on public health officials from the federal, provincial and territorial governments, to recognize airborne transmission of COVID-19 and to act accordingly.

In July 2020, 239 international scientists drew the attention of global health authorities to this matter. Since the publication of their letter, the World Health Organization and the Public Health Agency of Canada have begun to recognize the transmission of COVID-19 by aerosols. In practice, however, this recognition has not resulted in any significant improvement in protective measures for health workers and other essential service workers.

“Prevention messages from provincial governments continue to be deficient,” note the authors of the open letter sent today to Canadian premiers and health authorities. “They do not adequately inform the population about the risks of airborne transmission in shared room air. Employers in workplaces and public institutions must be fully aware of the risks of aerosol transmission and the measures that can be taken to properly limit these risks.”

Supported by 34 international experts and 98 Canadian other professionals, the 363 signatories propose the following measures in particular:

– Update the directives and public health messages to take into account the risks of transmission of COVID-19 by aerosols

– Order the inspection of ventilation systems and finance their upgrading in essential public institutions, such as schools and long-term care homes

– Distribute portable air filtration units to filter bioaerosols when it is impossible to ventilate an interior space well

– Ensure that no high-risk healthcare worker (HCW) or essential worker is denied access to a fit-tested respirator (N95, elastomeric or equivalent) 

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