The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says new evidence suggests that COVID-19 may be transmitted through the air.
The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this during the briefing of the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force on Monday.
He explained that before now the virus was believed to only be transmittable through droplets which emanate from the nose and the mouth and fall to the ground.
Ihekweazu, however, stated that studies of new infections show that the disease may also be airborne.
The NCDC boss said, “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 was spread 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. Clusters transmissions did not seem to be enough to explain the clusters that we are seeing.
“Diseases that are commonly 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. 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.”
Ihekweazu said with this new revelation, the wearing of face masks and the need to maintain social distancing had become imperative.