The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 later renamed COVID-19 has been a subject of so many lines of global debates.
Although scientists have been able to unravel so much about the virus, its mode of transmission has continued to be a major talking point among them.
While scientists and public health officials were still working hard to identify the real source of the virus that causes COVID-19, they were able to establish that it is transmitted from an animal source, but that there has been person-to-person transmission in countries.
An information chat on the disease as posted on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)’s coronavirus microsite, stated that, “when a person with coronavirus coughs or exhales, droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch the virus by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.”
A scientific brief published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on May 29, 2020 gave further insight on how COVID-19 could be transmitted among humans.
Borrowing credence from available evidence, the WHO stated that COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and contact routes.
According to the brief, droplet transmission occurs when a person is within one meter with someone who has respiratory symptoms like coughing or sneezing, in which case it exposes the person to potentially infective respiratory droplets. Transmission, it says may also occur through fomites like vehicles, shovels, clothing, bowls, brushes, and clippers in the immediate environment around the infected person. This fueled the conclusion by the WHO that transmission of the COVID-19 virus can occur by direct contact with infected people and indirect contact with surfaces in the immediate environment or with objects used on the infected person like stethoscope or thermometer.
A new twist may have been added to this thinking by America’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC). Although the CDC spokesman, Benjamin Haynes had insisted in an interview with NPR that the centre had not changed its ‘transmission language’, it may have suggested that surface transmission may just be a little reason to worry.
Haynes was quoted by NPR as saying, “COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person. While it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
Meanwhile, the CDC made another key change to its website, clarifying sources that may not constitute major risks. Under the new heading “The virus does not spread easily in other ways,” the agency explains that touching contaminated objects or surfaces does not appear to be a significant mode of transmission. The same is true for exposure to infected animals.
Like Haynes, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund has said, “Our transmission language has not changed,” adding that, “Covid-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person.”
This may have given another perspective to how COVID-19 is spread, leaving scientists and public health researchers with the chance of looking deeper or elsewhere to track why the virus continues to spread even among people who have seemingly taken preventive measures.