CDC Abruptly Yanks Long-Awaited Guidance That COVID Spreads Via Air

Grant Boone
September 22, 2020

But on Monday, the CDC removed the guidance, saying that it had been "posted in error".

-Eric Feigl-Ding, Federation of American ScientistsOn Friday, the CDC quietly posted new guidelines stating that the coronavirus can be transmitted "through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes". The CDC has also said - and continues to say - that people can become infected by touching something that has the virus and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes, but this touch is not the main way it is spread. "These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs". Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

On Friday, the CDC had said in an update to its website that in addition to spreading between people in close contact, the novel coronavirus could spread through airborne particles that can linger in the air and travel more than six feet, in settings such as restaurants, fitness classes and choir practices.

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

This new information means that COVID-19 is more of an airborne threat than previously reported by the CDC.

A CDC spokesman said the site had been updated "without appropriate in-house technical review".

The CDC and the World Health Organization have long resisted the idea that the coronavirus spreads more than six feet through the air, with the WHO initially claiming that airborne transmission only occurred during certain medical procedures.

Yes, the CDC did in fact, revert back to its previous guidance regarding how COVID-19 spreads. That's one of the reasons public health experts stress wearing a mask, which can stop or reduce contact with both larger droplets and aerosolized particles.

With fall's cool temperatures ahead and more people likely heading indoors, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning that there is "growing evidence" that the coronavirus can spread beyond 6 feet, particularly in indoor environments without good ventilation. In recent months, the White House installed a press secretary at Health and Human Services who frequently disparaged CDC researchers.

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Stay home and isolate from others when sick.

"We are rounding the corner on the pandemic, with or without a vaccine. and we've done a phenomenal job - not just a good job - a phenomenal job".

An agency official said the Friday guidelines were removed because they did "not reflect our current state of knowledge".

But the CDC's shift can also help experts and lawmakers better communicate why those measures are needed.

"Some viruses are highly contagious, like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily".

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said last week "at no time has the scientific integrity" of these reports been compromised. "The word 'airborne" is etched in the minds of healthcare workers and brings fear of a certain category of diseases that is very hard to protect against, which may be one reason for the resistance we've seen to the idea of the coronavirus spreading in the air".

Prather said she "was beginning to think I would never see the day".

The top USA public health agency stirred confusion by posting - and then taking down - an apparent change in its position on how easily the coronavirus can spread from person to person through the air.

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