The World Health Organization is now saying coronavirus may be spread through the air more easily than previously believed, lingering longer and moving for further distances between people in an aerosol form.
After hundreds of scientists pled with the agency to consider the evidence in an open letter over the weekend.
If true, it could change how governments have been fighting the virus, including the one and two-meter separation rule many countries adopted for social distancing.
This was the WHO's technical lead for controlling the pandemic, Benedetta Allegranzi, in news conference on Tuesday (July 7):
"We acknowledge that there is emerging evidence in this field, as in all other fields regarding the COVID-19 virus and pandemic and therefore we believe that we have to be open to this evidence and understand its implications regarding the modes of transmission and also regarding the precautions that need to be taken."
The WHO was quick to say that the evidence is not final and they're expected to put out their most recent findings in coming days.
Doctor Anthony Fauci, of the White House's pandemic response, had this to say:
"There isn't a lot of definitive evidence about what the impact of the aerosolization is on COVID expression. However, we have some good examples, back with SARS, which is a similar virus, where there were clear cut examples of spread by aerosol. So although we don't think it's a major issue of spread, it's something that we can't completely rule out."
Fauci says this is one of the reasons why people need to wear masks to protect themselves, and others.