A study published earlier this month suggested that the coronavirus could linger in aerosols -- the suspension of tiny particles or droplets in the air -- for up to three hours.
But this experiment doesn't reflect the situation in the real world, and so doesn't offer any evidence of airborne transmission, said the World Health Organization in its daily coronavirus report on Thursday.
In the report, the WHO said the experiment used high-powered lab equipment that “does not reflect normal human coughing or sneezing nor does it reflect aerosol generating procedures in clinical settings.”
The findings “do not bring new evidence on airborne transmission” since it was already known that particles that contain the virus could spread during medical procedures that generate aerosols, WHO said.
Here's what we do know about how the virus spreads. The WHO said evidence shows that the coronavirus transmits through close contact with respiratory droplets, like when someone coughs.
It is also transmitted by fomites, meaning materials that have been contaminated with droplets of the coronavirus.
It spreads directly between people when coronavirus droplets reach the nose, mouth or eyes of an uninfected person. Since the droplets are too heavy to be airborne, they land on objects around that person. People can become infected by touching those contaminated objects and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
So is it airborne? Not that we know of --- the one way airborne transmission may occur is through aerosol-generating procedures used to help patients with coronavirus, said the WHO. It recommends health care workers wear medical masks for the regular care of patients and respirators for aerosol-generating procedures.