UPDATED: CDC removes revised guidance on coronavirus transmission through the air
UPDATED 1:17 p.m.: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday removed guidance it had posted on its website Friday that said airborne transmissions of the coronavirus were “thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
The CDC said that the guidance had been posted in error.
In the revised guidance, the CDC said COVID-19 “most commonly spreads” through airborne particles when an infected person “coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.”
“There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes),” the agency said in revised guidance, which has now been removed. “In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.”
The revised guidance was reported by CNN on Sunday.
The CDC previously had cautioned that COVID-19 was contracted mainly through large drops transferred between people in close range — within six feet.
The agency advises people to “stay at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible,” wear a mask and clean and disinfect surfaces.
For months, public health experts have cautioned that the coronavirus could be spreading through aerosols, making the virus airborne and able to spread further, CNN and The Washington Post reported. The experts said updating the guidance could change how policy is developed, specifically as the school year launches and many children are going back to in-person classrooms.
The World Health Organization noted aerosols could spread the virus in July after receiving a letter from hundreds of scientists encouraging that they make this acknowledgement.