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Respiratory virus expert slams government panel’s failure to accept ‘overwhelming’ COVID-19 evidence

Ross and Russel
Article image for Respiratory virus expert slams government panel’s failure to accept ‘overwhelming’ COVID-19 evidence

A respiratory virus expert has slammed a federal government panel for failing to accept the dangers of airborne spread of COVID-19.

The Infection Control Expert Group permits the use of surgical masks along with protective eyewear, rather than fitted N95 masks, for routine care of patients who have the virus or are suspected of having it.

But respiratory virus researcher at the University of Sydney, Professor Euan Tovey, says that’s unwise advice, and doesn’t offer adequate protection from airborne virus particles.

He says it’s “remarkable” that experts still can’t agree on the airborne risk posed by COVID-19.

“As a scientist, I find it pretty remarkable,” he told Ross and Russel.

“It’s definitely airborne. The argument is about what size particles. It’s really a technical argument that’s going on here.

“If you’ve got great big chunky particles like you’re spraying water … then you can use something like a surgical mask. But once you move into the smaller participles which behave more like smoke, then you need better filtration, and that’s the issue.”

Mr Tovey says there have been more than 1500 transmission events “which are best explained by saying it (COVID-19) drifts around in the air”.

“I think the arguments are pretty overwhelming,” he said.

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