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How should data on airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 change occupational health guidelines?
  1. Jean François Gehanno1,2,
  2. Vincent Bonneterre3,4,
  3. Pascal Andujar5,6,7,
  4. Jean-Claude Pairon5,6,7,
  5. Christophe Paris8,9,
  6. Audrey Petit9,10,
  7. Catherine Verdun-Esquer11,
  8. Alexis Descatha9,12,
  9. Quentin V Durand-Moreau13,
  10. Patrick Brochard14
  1. 1 Department of occupational Medicine, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France
  2. 2 Laboratoire d’informatique médicale et d’ingénierie des connaissances en e-santé, LIMICS, Sorbonne Université, Inserm, université Paris 13, Paris, France
  3. 3 TIMC Research Laboratory, Grenoble Alpes University, La Tronche cedex, France
  4. 4 Occupational & Environmental Diseases Centre, Grenoble cedex 09, France
  5. 5 U955, Equipe 4, INSERM, Creteil, France
  6. 6 Service de Pneumologie et de Pathologie Professionnelle, Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal de Créteil, Creteil, France
  7. 7 Faculte de Sante, Université Paris-Est Creteil, Créteil, France
  8. 8 Service de pathologie professionnelle et de l'environnement, CHU Rennes, Rennes, France
  9. 9 UMR_S1085 Ester team, UNIV Angers, CHU Angers, Univ Rennes, Inserm, EHESP, Irset (Institut de recherche en santé, environnement et travail), Angers, France
  10. 10 Department of Occupational Health, University Hospital of Angers, Angers, France
  11. 11 CHU de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
  12. 12 CAPTV CDC, CHU Angers Pôle A Vasculaire, Angers, France
  13. 13 Division of Preventive Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  14. 14 Université Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
  1. Correspondence to Professor Alexis Descatha, U1085 (Irset) Ester, University of Angers, Angers 49000, France; Alexis.Descatha{at}

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On the 6th of April, the WHO provided guidance about personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers (HCWs) in healthcare settings areas that have reported cases of COVID-19, stating that HCWs working in settings where aerosol-generating procedures were performed should wear a particulate respirator (N95 or FFP2), whereas in their previous recommendations, such masks were restricted to those who actually performed such procedures. This a step forward, although insufficient, towards the recognition of aerosol transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its consequences in terms of PPE choice.

COVID-19 has been considered as a droplet transmitted disease by WHO, which means that it can be prevented using surgical masks and hand hygiene. However, there is now increasing evidence …

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  • Contributors All authors have participated in writing the letter and approved it.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.