CDC reverse course again, says asymptomatic people should be tested

Grant Boone
September 21, 2020

The agency's Friday update says COVID-19 is most commonly spread through small respiratory droplets called aerosols that may hang out in the air-not just via the larger droplets directly spewed like projectiles via coughing and sneezing into other people's noses and mouths.

Despite several studies that have shown the novel coronavirus can spread through small particles in the air, the CDC page now says that Covid-19 is thought to spread mainly between people in close contact - about 6 feet - and "through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks". On Sunday it was noticed and reported by CNN, while on Monday the Washington Post reported that the CDC seemed to be coming around to the position advocated by "independent experts" for months - that aerosol transmission of Covid-19 was a thing and that indoor ventilation was key to protecting against it. "CDC is now updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19)", it declared.

"Most public health organisations, including the World Health Organisation, do not recognise airborne transmission except for aerosol-generating procedures performed in healthcare settings". As of Friday, the CDC once again says people showing no symptoms who spent more than 15 minutes within six feet of someone who tested positive for Covid-19, should get tested.

After briefly acknowledging that the virus which causes COVID-19 spreads via the air, the Centers for Disease Control abruptly took down the post.

However, the change in the guidelines was quickly reversed, with the CDC issuing a correction which blamed the update on an "error".

They also updated the guidance that particles can remain in the air longer and travel farther than originally thought.

Previously, CDC suggested maintaining "good social distance" of about 6 feet (1.8m), washing hands, routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and covering your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.

Us Experts Say Principal Form Of Covid Spread Is Via The Air
Airborne viruses are among the most contagious, and the CDC warned that poorly-ventilated places increase the risk of spreading. Friday's reversal added more fodder to a snowballing story regarding political interference with the CDC.

The World Health Organization recognized the threat of aerosols in July, after hundreds of scientists urged the global body to address airborne spread.

On Friday, the CDC said on its website that "due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission" of the virus, asymptomatic people should be tested.

Since the pandemic began, arguments have raged over how the virus travels - and how to best halt it.

The CDC's flip-flopping follows the sudden departure of Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo, who had accused "seditious" personnel there of running an "anti-Trump resistance unit", before announcing he would be taking a 60-day medical leave of absence. Cloth masks are not created to block aerosols.

It also points out that the use of masks should not replace other prevention measures, but be complementary to them.

The CDC also added new measures to its information about protecting yourself and others.

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